Technology.am (May 28, 2009) — Researcher identified a nontoxic chemical technology that when applied to rodents, caused infertility in rats, which feast on crops intended for human consumption.
Northern Arizona University’s researcher Loretta Mayer said rodents consume or damage up to 50 percent of pre-harvest rice crops. We can easily increase rice production by 10 percent by reducing rodent fertility in half by environmental neutral approach. If rice production were to increase by 10 percent, this would feed about 380 million people a year.
Mayer said this noninvasive approach is more humane than poison, which takes several days to kill rodents and seeps into groundwater, harming other animals and possible food sources.
The sterilization technology derived from Mayer’s research investigated potential damage caused to ovarian follicles in women exposed to certain chemicals in industrial settings. Of particular interest was a chemical compound known as 4-vinylcyclohexene diepoxide (VCD) typically used in manufacturing rubber tires, polyesters and plastics.
She found that low, nontoxic doses of VCD in mice sped the menopausal process and rendered them infertile.
Mayer and her colleagues have developed a product called ContraPest that incorporates the chemical sterilization treatment into bait. The bait is put into strategically placed stations that lure rodents into cages too small to attract or affect other animals. “No rat or mice I know can resist a little hole,” she said.