Scientists Make New Bug Skin Discovery

By: Associated Press
By: Associated Press

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Thursday, September 29, 2011

Kansas State University scientists say a new discovery about insects' skin could lead to improved pesticides and new bioplastics technology.

A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences examines the dynamic biochemical processes the red flour beetle uses to replace the protective coating on its skin while shedding its old skin.

The research shows the molting process works differently than previously thought.

The result is that in the future, agricultural crop pests like the red flour beetle could find themselves the targets of a new breed of insecticides.

Kansas State says the beetle's cuticle also could be replicated into new lightweight body armor, prosthetics or materials for flight.

The study was funded with a National Science Foundation grant.

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