According to a new study in Nature Communications, microbes in the gut of the coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei, cause it to breakdown caffeine, which would otherwise be toxic to the insects, reports international Comunicaffe.
The researchers gave the insects antibiotics, which eliminated their ability to detoxify caffeine. The results were significant and substantial declines in the number of viable insects, relative to controls, according to the source.
The coffee berry borer has been devastating crops worldwide. Earlier in July, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and Hawaii’s congressional delegation announced an additional $1 million grant to Hawaii and Puerto Rico to combat the coffee berry borer.