Source: Cornell University via EurekAlert


Researchers at Cornell University have discovered that when a major South American pest infests potato tubers, the plant produces bigger spuds.


The secret to this increased yield, they write in the peer-reviewed journal Ecological Applications (April 28, 2010), is the saliva of the Guatemalan potato moth larvae (Tecia solanivora). The major pest, which forces many farmers to spray plants with pesticides every two weeks, contains compounds in its foregut that elicits a system-wide response in the Colombian Andes commercial potato plant (Solanum tuberosum) to produce larger tubers.


Original press release