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US study shows sweetener as a safe insecticide

US scientists have shown that the non-nutritive sweetener, erythritol, has potential as an insecticide that is safe to humans. The researchers at Drexel University (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania) found that erythritol was toxic to fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), decreasing their longevity in a dose-dependent manner. Erythritol is the main component of the sweetener, Truvia, which is safe to humans even when consumed at high levels, the scientists note. They suggest that erythritol has potential as an insecticide in baits for fruit crop and urban insect pests. "We are not going to see the planet sprayed with erythritol and the chances for widespread crop application are slim," says senior study author professor Sean O'Donnell. "But on a small scale, in places where insects will come to a bait, consume it and die, this could be huge." The research has been published in the journal, Plos One.


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