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Study shows sweetener is a safe insecticide

The non-nutritive sweetener, erythritol, has potential as an insecticide that is safe for humans, according to researchers at Drexel University, Philadelphia, Pa. The research found that erythritol is toxic to fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster), decreasing their longevity in a dose-dependent manner, Agrow reports. Erythritol is the main component of the sweetener, Truvia, which is safe for humans even when consumed at high levels, the scientists note. They suggest that erythritol has potential as an insecticide in baits for fruit crop and urban insect pests. "We are not going to see the planet sprayed with erythritol and the chances for widespread crop application are slim," says senior study author professor Sean O'Donnell. "But on a small scale, in places where insects will come to a bait, consume it and die, this could be huge." The research has been published in the journal, Plos One.

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