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Grant number: 22/11669-8
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): November 01, 2022
Effective date (End): April 30, 2023
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry - Organic Chemistry
Principal Investigator:João Batista Fernandes
Grantee:Lulliana Thalita Franco
Host Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil


Leaf-cutting ants belong to the Attini tribe specifically from the Atta and Acromyrmex genera. These cultivate the fungus Leucoagaricus gongylophorus that is used in their nutrition, this cultivation occurs inside the nests of ants that use the leaves of Pinus and Eucalyptus plantations as substrate. Due to this, these ants cause great economic damage to Brazilian agricultural production because of the defoliation of these trees, thus, the effective control of pest ants is of great importance. Currently, there are many control techniques, such as mechanical, biological and chemical methods, however, these techniques are not biodegradable, causing pollution in soils, water or even harmless organisms. Given this fact, leaf-cutting ants have been the target of several studies for the development of alternative control methodologies with less environmental impact. Natural products are a promising source of new pesticide agents, thus, studies indicate that plant extracts, extracts of microorganisms or essential oils are good natural sources for the control of this agricultural pest. Brazilian agribusiness represents 25% of the country's gross domestic product (GDP), making Brazil the leader among emerging nations and with the possibility of increasing food production for the survival of human beings and for that it must control insect pests. In this way, the work aims to develop alternative methods for the control of pest ants from natural products of plant extracts in order to reduce the damage caused by agricultural pests, as well as the harmful effects of conventional insecticides. Training human resources to control insect pests at the scientific initiation level represents a relevant objective to be achieved through the execution of the project.

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