Researcher to fight insects with spider venom

An Australian researcher is working on environmentally friendly insect control methods based on spider venom compounds.

Professor Glenn King recently joined The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience, where he will further develop his pioneering approach to insecticide discovery.

“Since spiders have been developing insecticidal compounds for almost 400 million years, I decided to interrogate their venoms to find natural toxins that might kill insects without harming vertebrates,” Professor King said.

He has since described three families of insecticidal compounds, and moved to Australia with the help of a A$576,000 Australian Research Council grant titled, ‘Safeguarding Australia against invasive arthropod pests.’

“An increasingly serious public health issue is the emergence of infectious diseases spread by insects such as ticks and mosquitoes,” Professor King said.

“Hopefully this project will result in environmentally-sustainable methods for controlling those insects that destroy crops or spread human and animal disease.”

For more information: The University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience,

Bronwyn Allan, Tel: +61 7 3346 2134,