Anti fertility medicinal plants can control rodent population

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Ludhiana, Feb 8 (UNI) A traditional Chinese medicinal plant, Tripterygium Wilfordii may prove to be an effect anti-fertility agent against rodent species that not only destroy crops but are the carriers of various diseases.

Studies on this plant are currently being conducted by Dr Neena Singla and her team at the Department of Zoology of the Punjab Agricultural University (PAU).

''The results obtained are encouraging'' Dr Singla, who was in China recently for the studies recently, stated here today.

Identification of anti-fertility botanicals will offer a new dimension to contraceptives, as humans and rodents are mammals, and that efforts are being made to recognise plants from local flora for their anti-fertility potential against rodents, she added.

Some plant-based products are also under test at PAU as well as at the Central Arid Research Institute (CARI), Jodhpur for knowing their anti fertility properties on rodents, she added.

According to Dr H S Sehgal, head of the Zoology Department scientific studies on plant-based products, commonly called botanicals, have revealed the acceptable level of enviornmental safety and their effectiveness in tackling the growing rodent population. Since, rodents are prolific multipliers, reproductive inhibition can be a non-lethal option with a potential to provide target-specific and long-lasting control approach, Dr Sehgal explained.

Studies on these lines have been carried out by Dr Rajender Kaur at PAU under ICAR sponsored All India Network Project on Rodent Control. In one such study, the potential of a plant product obtained from Triperygium Wilfirdii, a traditional Chinese medicinal plant are being conducted by Dr Singla and her team.

Rodents besides being serious pests in agricultural and commensal habitats are responsible for transmission of various diseases to humans and livestock, Dr Sehgal added. Rodents by virtue of their extremely adaptable nature, highly intelligent behavioral pattern and tremendous multiplication potential are capable of maintaining their high population.

So far the strategy to manage rodents is to decrease their population through their killing with the help of rodenticides, Dr Sehgal said. But there is always a risk of non target accidental exposure to toxic rodenticide chemicals because rodents share environment with humans and their pets.

Dr Sehgal elaborated that this necessitated discovering and developing novel approaches which are compatible with integrated pest management strategies and are less toxic and environmentally safe. So plant based products can be developed from plants like Tripterygium Wilfirdii to control the rodent population, he added.

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