Coffee Industry at Risk

A common thread around the world is coffee. 17-PROTO-articleLargeCoffee is a liquid that drives “productivity and civilization” and because of the importance of coffee in generations right now concerns about the Coffee Berry Borer is growing. The Coffee Berry Borer is a beetle that is endemic to Central Africa but can also be found in other countries that produce coffee beans. This beetle can live and withstand a massive amount of caffeine, a usual insecticide. It is estimated to withstand 500 shots of espresso for a 150- pound human. These beetles capability to withstand high caffeine levels and their addiction to coffee beans is potentially cutting crops of coffee beans by 80%.

Researchers have been studying potential solutions against this beetle who spends most of its natural life in a coffee bean.  A study by Lawrence Berkeley scientists believe that the bacterial species in the beetles’ digestive tract allows it to safely live in a coffee bean and break down caffeine before what usually would kill other insects. Javier Ceja-Navaro, Lawrence Berkeley scientist, believes that if we can “develop a way to disrupt the bacteria and make caffeine as toxic to this pest as it is to other insects” the beetle population will reduce without the use of pesticides. Other solutions include having more trees near coffee bean farms as birds will be more attracted to high population trees and will potentially eat the insects.

To read more on the Coffee Berry Borer, click here.

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