How the humble marigold outsmarts a devastating tomato pest

Posted on Mar 27 2019 - 12:27pm by UOG

Scientists have revealed for the first time the natural weapon used by marigolds to protect tomato plants against destructive whiteflies.

Researchers from Newcastle University’s School of Natural and Environmental Sciences carried out a study to prove what gardeners around the world have known for generations — marigolds repel tomato whiteflies.

Publishing their findings today (1 March) in the journal PLOS ONE, the experts have identified limonene — released by marigolds — as the main component responsible for keeping tomato whiteflies at bay. The insects find the smell of limonene repellent and are slowed down by the powerful chemical.


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