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Chinese research shows plant hormone cuts pesticide levels

A research team from Zhejiang University in China has discovered that the application of a naturally occurring plant hormone can reduce pesticide residues in cucumbers. Brassinosteroids are known to protect crops from the toxicity of herbicides, fungicides and insecticides, the research notes. Application of 24-epibrassinolide (EBR) accelerated the metabolism of various pesticides and consequently reduced their residual levels in cucumbers. The use of EBR was directly associated with reductions of residues of the insecticide, chlorpyrifos, in the tested crop. The study indicates that brassinosteroids may be “promising, environmentally friendly, natural substances suitable for wide application to reduce the risks of human and environment exposure to pesticides,” the researchers note. The research was published in the September 23rd issue of the American Chemical Society's Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry.

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