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Abstract

The excessive use of pesticides is a problem in most parts of the world today because of their broad and unspecific target range that is considerably harmful. The accumulation of several chemical insecticide residues based on chlorpyrifos-methyl, organochlorine, different isomers of HCH, DDT etc., in Triticum aestivum L. plants can be dangerous. Hence, there is an urgent need to develop potential and safer alternative measures. Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) is a major cereal crop grown and used for food, animal feed, beverages and furniture accessories in most parts of the world. It also serves as a host to various insect pests. Our previous studies showed the insecticidal potency and specificity of short ssDNA oligonucleotides from the inhibitor of apoptosis (IAP-2 and IAP-3) genes of Lymantria dispar multicapsid nuclear polyhedrosis virus (LdMNPV) against gypsy moth (L. dispar) larvae, a possible insect pest of non-host plants like wheat. Consequently, the present study analyzes the effects of ssDNA oligonucleotides used as DNA insecticides on wheat (T. aestivum) plant biomass, plant organs and some biochemical parameters as a marker of the safety margin on non-target organisms. The results obtained on plant biomass showed that groups treated with ssDNA oligonucleotides at concentrations of 0.01 pmol · μl−1, 0.1 pmol · μl−1 and 1 pmol · μl−1 varied in comparison with the control group, but remained harmless to plant growth and development, while the treatment concentration of 0.001 pmol · μl−1 did not affect the plant biomass. The glucose, protein and phosphorous biochemical parameters, analyzed after 21 days, showed that the ssDNA oligonucleotides used were equally safe. The data obtained for the plant organs (leaves and root lengths) indicate that the phenomenon of DNA insecticides can be further studied and developed for plant protection while improving the growth of plant organs even for a non-target organism such as wheat T. aestivum plants.
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