A bifunctional dipeptide functionalizes crop surfaces for sustainable pest management (Green Chemistry)

Most synthetic pesticides do not stick well on plants especially during raining season and can be washed off during irrigation shorty after application. Therefore, the farmer may need to apply several times or hope for dry days to spray. Swinges et al. developed a synthetic peptide with two separate functional groups; one adheres to the surface wax of the leaf to hold the pesticide in place while the other has antimicrobial activity. First, they tested various peptides for their ability to bind GFP to the surface of soybean leaves, and showed that a naturally occurring peptide thanatin (THA) does this in a rainfast manner. Then made a fusion of THA with DS01, a peptide known to protect soybean from Phakopsora pachyrhizi, the fungus that causes Asian soybean rust. Plants sprayed with this difunctional peptide showed resistance to soybean rust even after rinsing. (Summary by Adenike Ayoade) Green Chemistry 10.1039/C9GC00457B