Beetle Juice (BJ)
(Natural Plant Defense)

Technical Bulletin; BJ is a naturally extracted P.G.R. (plant growth regulator) that stimulates flowering, elongates cells, opens stomata and vascular system in plants.

This leads to nutrient uptake from soils and CO2 to increase respiration. BJ stimulates cell division, inhibits the breakdown of proteins and nucleic acids and has shown to increase flowering by 30%.

BJ contains Chitinase an enzyme extracted from terrestrial insects and plant amino acids such as jasmonic acid, salicylic acid and ethylene that are protease inhibitors and stimulate innate plant defense mechanisms.

BJ interferes with leaf eating insect reproductive cycles and causes starve-out. BJ is effective in developing enhanced resistance to pathogenic infection in plants. Arthropod inducible protein found in BJ is a broad spectrum defense against multiple chewing insects. Arthropods possess a diverse range of feeding habits and styles, including chewing as well as phloem or xylem feeding species. Arthropod inducible proteins become regulated by multiple signaling hormones, including jasmonic acid, salicylic acid and ethylene. A sudden burst of insect speciation undoubtedly presents a strong selection pressure on plants to develop an array of defenses to ward off attack.

One well conserved defense signaling pathway involves jasmonic acid. A group of JA regulated proteins play a critical role in post ingestive plant defense by targeting the insect digestive canal to impair its digestive and absorptive processes.

Arthropods possess nutritional requirements similar to humans, including the need to obtain the 10 essential amino acids from their diets. Knowing how protein structure contribute toward stability in the chewing insects gut assists in predicting toxicity and mechanism of action from BJ application.

Alternatively, anti-insect activity of a toxic protein can be improved by administering a protease inhibitor found in BJ which prevents degradation of the toxic protein and allow it to exert its defensive action.. This protein stabilizing strategy has been recommended for producing insect resistant plants.

Chitinases in BJ are active and induced as a response to pathogen infection and by arthropod feeding.

The role in defense against chewing insects has been well established and active against insects. Targeting transcription factors that interact with counter defense related proteins is an attractive approach in biotechnology –based insect control.

Plants can be induced to develop enhanced resistance to pathogen infection by treatment with a variety of biotic inducers such as non-pathogens, cell wall fragments and plant amino acids found in BJ.

It is now well documented that treatment of plants with various agents such as these can lead to the induction of resistance to pathogens.

Following application of an inducing treatment to a plant, defense mechanisms are triggered directly. The dense responses activated, include an oxidative burst which lead to cell death trapping the pathogen in dead cells. This changes in cell wall composition that inhibit pathogen penetration.

Induction of systemic resistance leads to the direct activation of defense related genes, enzymatic secretion and also lead to the priming of cells resulting in stronger defenses following a pathogen attack. The prospect of broad spectrum disease control using the plants own resistance mechanisms has lead to the increasing interest in BJ which can mimic natural inducers to resistance.

This biological control agent has been shown to provide effective disease control, especially in situations where achieving acceptable disease control is difficult, especially where fungal isolates resistance to the usual fungicide treatment were present. However, the different mode of action of BJ dictates that it cannot and should not be applied in the same way as fungicides and represents a challenge to conventional marketing.

Growers should be brought up to date on the validity and immense value that induced plant resistance will provide for practical and sustainable approaches to dealing with plant disease problems.

Plant disease control faces considerable challenges. There are continuing problems of pathogen adaptability to fungicide resistance and breakdown in the effectiveness of host genetic resistance costing growers untold fortunes in crop damage and yield loss yearly and there widespread public concern related to the environmental effects of widespread fungicide and insecticide use.