Holy Rats Eat Rice of 220,000,000

In most countries one is allowed to kill rats without mercy, but we want to respect Indian religion and may make a step forward to respect other than human lifes. This will put an additional challenge to come with animal friendly solutions. Besides,  rats should get more credit They have an excellent smell and can save our lives by detecting tuberculosis, explosives and mines (e.g. Afghanistan), illegal import at airports being low costs intelligent pets/biosensors.

The strategy development for animal friendly dealing with pests has spin-off to many areas including malaria, dengue and yellow fever.

First round of idea generation:

I Stop or slow down reproduction

If one is not allowed to kill the rats, one has to prevent consumption of the rice (traditional approach in combination with extinction) or prevent multiplification of the animals . Non-multiplying rats will consume less rice and will age and will be consumed by predators.

The Dutch company Organon has successfully developed the human hormone-based anticonception pill birth control. . The rat is one of their most studied laboratory animals. It should not be too difficult to calculate the estrogen dose in bait to stop reproduction for a number of months. Expert Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken. (Biologist and expert in animal testing, ex-Organon-MSD), Verbost Consultancy, has offered to calculate the required estrogen dose. For chemical castration rats need to be captured and injected. Short-living radioactivity may also be considered in the right environment or a rat specific virus.

The American Chemical Society reports the use of a gonadotropin releasing hormone to sterilise deer, wild horses, dogs and prairydogs for the mating season. It is a global problem. Ukrain, e.g., is in need for an animal friendly control of streetdogs.

II How to get the rat to the bait and not other animals?

Rats have an extremely well developed smell. Specific rat attractors can be pheromones. Suggested contact for assessing the feasibility (selection and production) of pheromones are Paul and Mark Davis, Mologic, Sharnbrook, UK (Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.). A literature search might do to select the proper pheromones. Rats are clever and rapid natural selection mechanisms may interfere, so one should consider from the start to rotate attractants preventing resistance development. The dairy industry has a lot of experience in rotating starter cultures for cheese production to prevent bacteriophage.(viruses) interference.

III How to prevent rats from continuing eating from the bait and to allow other rats to eat from the bait?

One may consider designing a trap, which can release the rat after consumption of the bait. The design of the trap should also prevent other animals (mice, roaches, even ants) coming in reducing the maintenance costs of the system. One may consider a mechanic system to release the rats to let them in or get them out. One may also consider to chase the rats after consumption using an unpleasant sensation light (input from Mr. Rajendran: rats do not like intense light) or sound.  Spin-off: Traps for bisam rats, which undermine the dikes. Their organic meat is delicious like the treat Cuj (guinea pigs) in Ecuador.

Prof.dr. Merel Ritskes (Animal testing), Radboud University (Nijmegen) ( Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken. ) is a possible expert to involve in version II about the selection of animal friendly traps, etc.

Dr. Jith John, Veterinary, Trivandrim, Kerala Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.: Possible contact with rodent ethologists, Inida

IV How to develop a specific sustainable trap without bait attracting other pests? One can replace bait by a controlled slow release system of attractive flavours/pheromones and anti-conception hormones/chemical castration.  Rats receive dose via tongue, get hungry and leave. Additional advantage: Reduces trap size. Additional useful names (to help identify participants): Dr. Saskia Galema, (Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.), former controlled release science leader at Unilever Research (Colworth House), again NIZO Food Research, Ede. Dr. Jacques Bakker, Breda, former expert sensor development Philips, Eindhoven ( Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken., Evolvip Breda). Retired Prof.dr.ir.  Roel Westerdorp, UniversityTwente ( Knowledge of suitable porous plastic release materials, information 2003),

PS Edible biodegradable porous plastic containing the active ingredients (rotating cocktails preventing resistance built-up) may allow spread as confetti (humane Agent Orange) by aeroplanes and be applied to wipe out also other diseases like Dengue and  malaria.  Personal former contact: John Wesseling, PhD Nijmegen University who worked on the inhibition of the life cycle of the malaria parasite in the mosquito. Prof. Robert Sauerwein, Parasitology (Nijmegen) has just demonstrated that chloroquine simultaneous with infection can provide immunity in humans. Similar control routes can be applied to develop immunity in mosquitos. Remco.Suer (Wageningen University) has demonstrated that mosquitos are attracted by bacterial metabolites of human foot sweat next to carbon dioxide. Mosquitos may subsequently  also be inactivated by biological agents (Bacillus thuringiensis israeliensis, mould spores).

After talking with Dr. Coen Dechering (formerly MSD) in August 2011, he started Trop-IQ in January 2012 to fight the parasite in the mosquitos considering means like anticonception.

 

Dr. Rhys Jones, Purac Gorinchem ( Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.) said that pheromones have already been tested using against a plague (moth) and the agent was spread by aeroplanes in New Zealand. Purac may also be able to produce the biodegradable porous plastics.

Michael Nieuwesteeg (Dutch Packaging Centre, Gouda) may have useful names in active (preferably biodegradable)  packaging

V  Parallel Route: How to make rice transiently unsuitable for consumption for rats? Incorporate transient unpleasant taste component, examples:

-         Volatile e.g. essential, which evaporates or breaks down during heat process

-         Bitter or pungent compound, which can be degraded in downstream-processing

Engineer plant via classical breeding using the biodiversity of traits in varieties or mutagenesis or employ targeted plant biotechnology.

Potential useful contacts Plant Biotechnology: Dr. Arjen van Tunen, CEO Keygene, Wageningen (Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.): Flavours: Dr. Peter de Kok, Principal Scientist, NIZO Foods Research, Ede ( Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken.), Dr Malcolm Stratford, Dit e-mailadres wordt beveiligd tegen spambots. JavaScript dient ingeschakeld te zijn om het te bekijken., expert in spoilage and antimicrobial flavours. Saurabh Kumar (saurabhk83@gmail,com).

Spin-off to other areas:

- Wild boar plague in Dutch National Park: Pheromone based traps + chemical castraton (Prof. Rob Meloen)

- Muskrat plague in Dutch dykes: Animal friendly traps plus export to Belgium (delciatesse meat)

- Dengue, yellow fever: Vehicle of viruses: the mosquito Aedis aegypti; Infection with bacterium Wolbachia stops transmission of dengue;

- Pheromones and birth control for geese, a plague for farmers in the Netherlands

My apologies if I forget many other possible experts in these fields. I have limited myself to the experts and industries, who I know can do the job and hope they will find their way to all the missing pieces involving the necessary people. Nearly all knowledge is somewhere in the world, we need just the right connectors.

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