In French Guiana, the tropical forest is dense and humid and covers 80,000 km², nearly 90% of the total area of this French Overseas Department. This forest is a remarkable reserve of biodiversity.
However, the proliferation of insects, notably termites and mosquitoes, has a negative impact on human health (dengue fever) and the economy (destruction of wood structures). These repercussions affect the development of the region over the long term.
The insecticides used today though to deal with these problems are either formulated from synthetic molecules or create a resistance phenomenon. In a general way, they have drawbacks due to their massive use and the fact that they are sometimes harmful. That is why the Centre National pour la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) has developed a project that aims at identifying natural molecules produced by plants that have developed over the years defenses against these insects, capable of replacing the synthetic molecules that are a threat to the environment, and that potentially have innovative action modes.
With the support of the Air Liquide Foundation, the CNRS is implementing this project that, in the long run, will reduce the presence of aerosols in the atmosphere and limit their presence in water and the soils that are the lungs of French Guyana.
covering of French Guyana
of the total area
Thanks to this innovative project, the CNRS in French Guiana received the Air Liquide Foundation Award for scientific research on the environment in 2016. Discover the interview of Emeline Houël, research engineer at the CNRS.