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Archive for the ‘Biopesticide’ Category

Climate change means farmers in West Africa need more ways to combat pests

by Loko Yêyinou Laura Estelle, The Conversation

worm on corn
Credit: Unsplash/CC0 Public Domain

The link between climate change and the spread of crop pests has been established by research and evidence.

Farmers are noticing the link themselves, alongside higher temperatures and greater variability in rainfall. All these changes are having an impact on harvests across Africa.

Changing conditions sometimes allow insects and diseases to spread and thrive in new places. The threat is greatest when there are no natural predators to keep pests in check, and when human control strategies are limited to the use of unsuitable synthetic insecticides.

Invasive pests can take hold in a new environment and cause very costly damage before national authorities and researchers are able to devise and fund ways to protect crops, harvests and livelihoods.

Early research into biological control methods (use of other organisms to control pests) shows promise for safeguarding harvests and food security. Rapid climate change, however, means researchers are racing against time to develop the full range of tools needed for a growing threat.

The most notable of recent invasive pests to arrive in Africa was the fall armyworm, which spread to the continent from the Americas in 2016.

Since then, 78 countries have reported the caterpillar, which attacks a range of crops including staples like maize and has caused an estimated US$9.4 billion in losses a year.

African farmers are still struggling to contain the larger grain borer, or Prostephanus truncatus Horn, which reached the continent in the 1970s. It can destroy up to 40% of stored maize in just four months. In Benin, it is a particular threat to cassava chips, and can cause losses of up to 50% in three months.

It’s expected that the larger grain borer will continue to spread as climatic conditions become more favorable. African countries urgently need more support and research into different control strategies, including the use of natural enemies, varietal resistance and biopesticides.

My research work is at the interface between plants, insects and genetics. It’s intended to contribute to more productive agriculture that respects the environment and human health by controlling insect pests with innovative biological methods.

For example, we have demonstrated that a species of insect called Alloeocranum biannulipes Montr. and Sign. eats some crop pests. Certain kinds of fungi (Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana), too, can kill these pests. They are potential biological control agents of the larger grain borer and other pests.

Improved pest control is especially important for women farmers, who make up a significant share of the agricultural workforce.

In Benin, for example, around 70% of production is carried out by women, yet high rates of illiteracy mean many are unable to read the labels of synthetic pesticides.

This can result in misuse or overuse of chemical crop protection products, which poses a risk to the health of the farmers applying the product and a risk of environmental pollution.

Moreover, the unsuitable and intensive use of synthetic insecticides could lead to the development of insecticide resistance and a proliferation of resistant insects.

Biological alternatives to the rescue

Various studies have shown that the use of the following biological alternatives would not only benefit food security but would also help farmers who have limited formal education:

  1. Natural predators like other insects can be effective in controlling pests. For example I found that the predator Alloeocranum biannulipes Montr. and Sign. is an effective biological control agent against a beetle called Dinoderus porcellus Lesne in stored yam chips and the larger grain borer in stored cassava chips. Under farm storage conditions, the release of this predator in infested yam chips significantly reduced the numbers of pests and the weight loss. In Benin, yams are a staple food and important cash crop. The tubers are dried into chips to prevent them from rotting.
  2. Strains of fungi such as Metarhizium anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana also showed their effectiveness as biological control agents against some pests. For example, isolate Bb115 of B. bassiana significantly reduced D. porcellus populations and weight loss of yam chips. The fungus also had an effect on the survival of an insect species, Helicoverpa armigera (Hübner), known as the cotton bollworm. It did this by invading the tissues of crop plants that the insect larva eats. The larvae then ate less of those plants.
  3. The use of botanical extracts and powdered plant parts is another biological alternative to the use of harmful synthetic pesticides. For example, I found that botanical extracts of plants grown in Benin, Bridelia ferruginea, Blighia sapida and Khaya senegalensis, have insecticidal, repellent and antifeedant activities against D. porcellus and can also be used in powder form to protect yam chips.
  4. My research also found that essential oils of certain leaves can be used as a natural way to stop D. porcellus feeding on yam chips.
  5. I’ve done research on varietal (genetic) resistance too and found five varieties of yam (Gaboubaba, Boniwouré, Alahina, Yakanougo and Wonmangou) were resistant to the D. porcellus beetle.

Next generation tools

To develop efficient integrated pest management strategies, researchers need support and funding. They need to test these potential biocontrol methods and their combinations with other eco-friendly methods in farm conditions.

Investing in further research would help to bolster the African Union’s 2021–2030 Strategy for Managing Invasive Species, and protect farmers, countries and economies from more devastating losses as climate change brings new threats.

Initiatives like the One Planet Fellowship, coordinated by African Women in Agricultural Research and Development, have helped further the research and leadership of early-career scientists in this area, where climate and gender overlap.

But much more is needed to unlock the full expertise of women and men across the continent to equip farmers with next generation tools for next generation threats.

Provided by The Conversation 

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.


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Why African farmers should balance pesticides with other control methods

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NOVEMBER 17, 2022

Salt-tolerant bacteria ‘can fight fungal attacks on chili’

by K.S. Harikrishnan, SciDev.Net

<img src="https://scx1.b-cdn.net/csz/news/800a/2022/salt-tolerant-bacteria.jpg&quot; alt="Salt-tolerant bacteria ‘can fight fungal attacks on chili’ " title="Antagonism exhibited by Bacillus cabrialesii strain MPSK 109 against fungal phytopathogens. a, Rhizoctonia solani; b, Pythium aphanidermatum; c, Fusarium oxysporum; d, Fusarium pallidoroseum. Credit: <i>Phytotherapy Research
Antagonism exhibited by Bacillus cabrialesii strain MPSK 109 against fungal phytopathogens. a, Rhizoctonia solani; b, Pythium aphanidermatum; c, Fusarium oxysporum; d, Fusarium pallidoroseum. Credit: Phytotherapy Research (2022). DOI: 10.1002/ptr.7660

Salt-tolerant bacteria found in salt pans can be used to contain fungal attacks on chili (Capsicum annuum), a major export crop of India, according to a new study published this month.

India, the largest grower, consumer and exporter of chillies in the world, is estimated to have produced in the 2021—2022 fiscal year 1.87 million tons, widely used to spice food. Thailand and China are also major producers.

According to the study, conducted by researchers at Goa University, salt-tolerant bacteria can be deployed to counter fungal pathogens that flourish as a result of increasing soil salinisation. This can lead to better nutrient management and improved yields, the researchers say.

“Among abiotic (non-biological) factors, soil salinisation is the most detrimental and considered a significant limiting factor of agricultural productivity and food security,” says Savita S. Kerkar, an author of the study and senior professor of bio-technology at Goa University.

“Halophilic (salt-loving) and halotolerant (salt-tolerant) microorganisms from solar salt pans are known to produce several secondary metabolites (substance needed for metabolism and plant growth) which can be exploited for various applications,” Kerkar tells us. “That is why researchers decided to evaluate the potentiality of halotolerant salt-pan bacteria in this study.”

Manasi Pawaskar, co-author of the study, says that while several kinds of bacteria have been reported as potential bio-control agents, there were no previous studies on the application of salt-pan bacteria against fungal pathogens in chili plants.

“In this study, about 196 bacteria isolated from salt pans in Goa, were screened for their antifungal activity. Halotolerant isolates of six types of bacteria could grow under a wide range of pH (acidity or alkalinity level), temperature and NaCl (salt) concentrations, thus demonstrating their ability to survive and proliferate in the varying dynamics of the soil,” Pawskar said.

First introduced to Asia by 16th century Portuguese and Spanish explorers, chili cultivation has spread to all continents, especially the C. frutescens,or chili pepper, and C. annuum,which includes the bell pepper, cayenne, friggitello, jalapeños, paprika, and serrano varieties.

Research published in October says that apart from its use as a spice, chili is also an ingredient in many traditional medicine systems. “The fruits of C. annuumhave been used as a tonic, antiseptic, and stimulating agent, to treat dyspepsia, appetites, and flatulence, and to improve digestion and circulation,” says the study in Phytotherapy Research.

Anoop Kuttiyil, researcher in plant pathology and assistant professor at Zamorin’s Guruvayurappan College, in Kozhikode, southern India, tells us that chili pepper is rich in bioactive compounds and has natural ingredients of value to the agro-food, cosmetic and pharma industries. “But, chili is susceptible to several fungal pathogens that affect crop yield. These include Cercospora capsici and Alternaria solani that damage the leaves and Colletotrichum sp. that causes fruit rot in chili.”

Kuttiyil, who was not involved in the study, said, “Management of these fungal diseases is often difficult due to conducive environment and lack of prophylactic measures and the study offers potential for bacterial bio-control agents that can compete with pathogens as well as promote crop growth, especially in extreme saline soil conditions.”

More information: Sudip Kumar Mandal et al, Capsicum annuum L. and its bioactive constituents: A critical review of a traditional culinary spice in terms of its modern pharmacological potentials with toxicological issues, Phytotherapy Research (2022). DOI: 10.1002/ptr.7660

Provided by SciDev.Net


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Examining how plants steer clear of salt

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Development of RNAi Enhancers using a yeast-based bio-manufacturing and delivery system and applications as a biopesticide against economically important crop pests in Canada

Biological pest control strategies (bio pesticides) offer promise as non-toxic and environmentally-friendly alternatives to conventional chemical pesticides. The use of RNA-interference as a potential biopesticide has become increasingly attractive due to its highly specific activity against target pest species, non-toxic and biodegradability, but as an emerging technology, has its limitations. This project aims to increase the effectiveness of RNAi as a biopesticides by developing Baker’s yeast which produces different natural RNAi-enhancing molecules along side the RNAi-effector molecules, all inside of the yeast cell. Those yeast cells would be grown up using existing technology and inactivated and applied as a dead yeast cells to crops in the place of conventional chemical pesticides. Insect pests that consume any crop plants covered in the yeast-based biopesticide would be specifically targeted and killed by the RNAi-effectors within those yeast cells. Non-target species would be unharmed due to the highly specific nature of RNAi. The yeast biopesticide, being dead yeast cells, would simply biodegrade in the environment and poses to risk to the environment, ecosystem or human health.

Intern: 

Kateryna Ievdokymenko

Faculty Supervisor: 

Juli Carrillo

Province: 

British Columbia

University: 

University of British Columbia

Partner: 

Renaissance BioScience Corporation

Sector: 

Professional, scientific and technical services

Partner University: 

Discipline: 

Biology

Program: 

Elevate

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Chromobacterium Csp_P biopesticide is toxic to larvae of three Diabrotica species including strains resistant to Bacillus thuringiensis

Scientific Reports volume 12, Article number: 17858 (2022) Cite this article

Abstract

The development of new biopesticides to control the western corn rootworm (WCR), Diabrotica virgifera virgifera LeConte, is urgent due to resistance evolution to various control methods. We tested an air-dried non-live preparation of Chromobacterium species Panama (Csp_P), against multiple corn rootworm species, including Bt-resistant and -susceptible WCR strains, northern (NCR, D. barberi Smith & Lawrence), and southern corn rootworm (SCR, D. undecimpunctata howardi Barber), in diet toxicity assays. Our results documented that Csp_P was toxic to all three corn rootworms species based on lethal (LC50), effective (EC50), and molt inhibition concentration (MIC50). In general, toxicity of Csp_P was similar among all WCR strains and ~ 3-fold less toxic to NCR and SCR strains. Effective concentration (EC50) was also similar among WCR and SCR strains, and 5-7-fold higher in NCR strains. Molt inhibition (MIC50) was similar among all corn rootworm strains except NCR diapause strain that was 2.5–6-fold higher when compared to all other strains. There was no apparent cross-resistance between Csp_P and any of the currently available Bt proteins. Our results indicate that Csp_P formulation was effective at killing multiple corn rootworm strains including Bt-resistant WCR and could be developed as a potential new management tool for WCR control.

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Eritrea: Bio-Pesticides Trials Produce Encouraging Results

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16 AUGUST 2022

Shabait.com (Asmara)INTERVIEW

In early 2021, the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA) and the Ministry of Marine Resources (MoMR) began pilot production of biofertilizers (BF) and biopesticides (BP) to transform the country’s Agriculture into eco-friendly farming. A technical committee was, then, established to guide these processes. To shed light on this issue, the Public Relations Division has conducted a short interview with Ms. Leula Mekonen, chair of the BP sub-committee.

Let’s start with the objective of the BP sub-committee.

Ms. Leula: The BP sub-committee is part of the national technical committee which was established to promote organic fertilizers and pesticides. Its ultimate goal is to produce healthy agricultural products and ensure public and environmental safety.

Generally, the MoA is promoting Integrated Pest Management (IPM) for sustainable crop-pest management and increased crop production. Promoting integrated pest management strategies is very crucial to addressing the problems caused by chemical pesticides. One of the IPM strategies to address the negative impact of chemical pesticides is, therefore, introducing and encouraging the use of BP in the country.

Q: How are these bio-pesticides prepared?

A: Broadly speaking, bio-pesticides are of two types; namely botanical and microbial. Botanical pesticides are naturally obtained from plant-based chemicals and are found to be effective alternatives to conventional pesticides. For instance, neem-based pesticides are one of the most important botanical pesticides widely used for agricultural pest management. Various botanical pesticides are also common in sustainable pest management practices, as they are generally safe for humans and the environment.

Q: Could you tell us about the progress of producing and piloting the BP?

A: So far, about 840 liters of neem, aloe, and chili pepper extract (botanical pesticides) have been produced; and distributed to four regions of the country for demonstration purposes in farmers’ fields. The plant materials, used as raw materials, are collected from different agro-ecological zones of the country. The collected neem leaves and seeds (from the lowland area) of Azadiracta indica are commonly practiced in many countries as effective bio-pesticides. It is important to note that a manual that includes preparation and application methods was also produced by the sub-committee. Furthermore, their shelf life and rate of application were studied at the National Agricultural Research Institute (NARI).

Q: Could you brief us on the outcome of the study?

A: The study mainly focused on doses and shelf life of organic pesticides. The result is a bit technical and detailed but generally, the freshly extracted solution showed the highest score of efficacy compared to the one-month and two-month extracts. In the case of lettuce aphid, the one-month and two-month extracts showed similar results.

Moreover, based on the study conducted, the concentration of the neem leaf extract requires more quantity to cover a large area. Hence, the committee recommended neem, aloe & chili extract be used for pests in gardens and small farms size. Accordingly, the committee agreed to focus on neem seed oil extract for mass production. Currently, neem seed is being collected in four regions. So far, 3 quintals of neem seed have been collected and a sample of 29 kilos of neem seed was extracted to produce 3.5 liters of neem oil and 25 kg of neem cake. The extract will be used as a fungicide, insecticide, and acaricide. In addition, neem oil trial on potato disease and wheat rust is underway in Zoba Maekel. Neem cake is a by-product of neem oil extract which is used as insect repellant and fertilizer. Neem cake trial for tuber moth on potato stores will be carried out soon.

Q: How do you standardize the quality of organic products?

A: Technical experts from the Regulatory Services Department (RSD) are actively engaged in the technical committees to ensure the safety and quality of BP products. They have also produced a guideline for botanical biopesticide production for commercial purposes.

Q: How do you communicate this BP with farmers?

A: We distributed neem BP in four regions namely; Maekel, Debub, Anseba, and Gash-Barka. They were applied to different vegetables and were found to be effective in insect/pest control. The overall objective of the demonstration trial in the regions was to demonstrate the use of botanical pesticides for pest control with the principle of learning by doing in their field; and assist for easy adoption in their pest management practices. Moreover, continuous farmers’ training on the production and use of biopesticides is underway. All these are done by members of the committee coming from the different zobas.

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A biopesticide manages to be as effective as sulfoxaflor in controlling aphids in melon

One of the agronomic challenges of Fruta Bollo, a company specializing in the production and marketing of fruits, especially citrus fruits and melons, is the sustainable management of pests, whose impact can generate losses of up to 80% of production when efficient management is not carried out.

To meet this important agronomic challenge, Kimitec carried out a successful investigation for Frutas Bollo, as part of the MAAVi Lab signed by both companies in April 2021.

The MAAVI IC selected three possible natural solutions for the field study and applied them from late June to early July, a time in which the crops are most prone to the development of aphids, to a very persistent aphid population (more than 100 individuals per leaf) in advanced melon crops with only 20 days to be harvested.

After 3 weeks of evaluations, using 2 applications at one-week intervals, Kimitec experts and the Bollo field team closely monitored the population concluding that one of its three developing biopesticides achieved the same efficacy as sulfoxaflor, the reference chemical.

“The finding represents a great advance for melon producers since they will be able to count on a substitute that has the same effectiveness as the chemical that cannot be used due to maximum residue limits (MRLs) restrictions, which translates into a more sustainable and safe agriculture,” stated Juan Puchades, managing director of Bollo for Brazil and responsible for Sustainability at Frutas Bollo.

In addition, fieldwork has shown that blending Kimitec’s new formulation with sulfoxaflor achieves almost 100% efficacy in just one application, halving the number of applications to control a persistent focus in times of increased need for efficient applications.

The biopesticide created by Kimitec, which is still under development, will be available in the USA, Mexico, and Brazil by 2023-2024 and on the European continent over a period of five years.

Source: kimitec.com 

Publication date: Mon 15 Aug 2022

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Integrate Your Insecticide Rotation in the Greenhouse with Biological Control

Juang-Horng (J.C.) ChongBy Juang-Horng (J.C.) Chong|August 1, 2022

  • Greenhouse Grower

Predatory Mite Release biological control

Biological control can be used effectively as a part of an integrated pest management program. This image shows loose bran leftover from a predatory mite release. Photos: Juang Chong

In a perfect world, we can have our cake and eat it, too. Alas, this isn’t a perfect world. As much as we hope biological control can be a complete replacement for pesticides, it’s not. We may need to apply pesticides to prevent damage by a secondary pest. By a secondary pest, I mean a pest that’s not the primary target of your biological control program but can become a problem because it has no effective biological control option (such as lygus bug or striped mealybug) or its biological control agents are in short supply or unaffordable.

Multiple factors decide which pesticides to use when practicing biological control. You can consult Koppert’s Side Effects Database or Biobest’s Side Effect Manual to select compatible insecticides. But, understand that compatibility information isn’t available for all products, and databases from different companies may have different ratings for the same product. You’ll have to do a little homework. When multiple ratings are available, it’s prudent to go with the most conservative one or the “worst-case scenario.” The best aid in selecting compatible pesticides is the representative of your biological control agent supplier, who can help you select the most suitable products and fill information gaps, particularly information on sublethal impact of pesticides.

Today’s topic hasn’t been discussed in detail when folks talk about selecting compatible insecticides — how do you satisfy two critical requirements, i.e., insecticide rotation and compatibility with biological control agents, when selecting which insecticide to use against the secondary pest?

Avoid Pesticide Resistance

As part of an integrated pest management program, biological control is a great way to delay the development of pesticide resistance. Hopefully, a preventive biological control program is so successful that you don’t ever have to use pesticides. If you don’t use or use very little pesticides, then you don’t have to worry about pesticide resistance — as simple as that. But, if you need to make multiple applications to reduce a secondary pest population, you should consider rotating the pesticides you plan to use to avoid resistance development.

The process of developing an insecticide rotation program that’s compatible with your biological control program is the same as developing a rotation program for any other pest. This could be best illustrated by going through the steps of developing such a rotation program, say, against mealybugs (I’m too cheap to buy Cryptolaemus) while being compatible with the predatory mite, Neoseiulus cucumeris, used for thrips management.

Pests on Verbena

Multiple pests can occur on the same plant, such as spider mites and thrips on this verbena. Designing an insecticide rotation program will need to consider both pests and their biological control agents.

The first step is to have a list of insecticides effective against mealybugs. I can find pesticide efficacy information from several resources. I can read IR-4’s Research Summaries or the Comparative Efficacy and Ecotox table from Rutgers University’s Protecting Bees website. Alternatively, I can call or email my favorite entomologist for recommendations. At the end of Step 1, my fictional list includes acephate, bifenthrin, buprofezin, dinotefuran, flonicamid, horticultural oil, insecticidal soap, and pyriproxyfen.

Now, let’s select insecticides that are compatible with cucumeris mite from my list. For this step, I consult with the technical representative of my biological control agent supplier, Do-Good Bug Company. Acephate and bifenthrin are out because they are broad-spectrum and have residual toxicity that may last for weeks. Dinotefuran can be very detrimental to cucumeris mite when sprayed, but is safe as a drench, so I’ll use that as a drench. Horticultural oil and insecticidal soap can also be detrimental when sprayed, but they have short residue, so I can use them just before releasing the predatory mites (the residue becomes harmless by release time) or at the end of the crop to clean up the mealybug population. Buprofezin, flonicamid and pyriproxyfen are compatible.

Steps for Mealybug Program

Here’s my mealybug program: I’ll start with a drench of dinotefuran followed with biweekly sprays of buprofezin, flonicamid, and pyriproxyfen. Remember that a good rotation program includes a sequence of non-repeating modes of action or IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee) numbers. I can find the IRAC numbers on the first page of the product labels, which are 4A for dinotefuran, 16 for buprofezin, 29 for flonicamid, and 7C for pyriproxyfen. All IRAC numbers in my rotation program are different, so I’m good to go. There you have it — an insecticide rotation program against mealybugs that’s compatible with cucumeris mite.

Of course, the example above is a simplified version of building an insecticide rotation program. Despite its simplicity, the same process can be repeated for any combination of (macro and micro) biological control agents and pesticides (insecticides and fungicides).

It is important to understand that insecticide rotation and compatibility with biological control should be considered within the context of the entire crop. Rarely do we deal with one pest or disease at a time. What we do to manage one pest or disease may have significant impact on the management efficacy against another pest or disease. Therefore, pesticide rotation and biological control programs should be designed carefully to consider multiple plant and pest species. It doesn’t matter how successful a biological control program is in managing the primary pest, a crop can still fail if a secondary pest management program ignores insecticide rotation and creates a resistant population that ultimately destroys the crop.

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Going the eco-friendly way to control pests

The rainy season brings a slew of problems for fruit growers, who struggle to save their crops from infestation by pests. The application of insecticides is not very effective and also poses environmental hazards, leading to a negative impact on soil health. Amid these challenging circumstances, the adoption of various eco-friendly techniques for managing pests targeting fruit crops has emerged as a viable option among farmers across Punjab.

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  • Updated At: Jul 18, 2022 07:32 AM (IST)
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Going the eco-friendly way to control pests

Bagging of guava fruit

Manav Mander

FRUIT cultivation faces a constant threat from insects. Several pests cause damage to fruit production, leading to a loss of yield. Among the pests that impede quality fruit production, fruit flies Bactrocera dorsalis and Bactrocera zonata can cause up to 100 per cent damage in the rainy season to the guava crop, 85 per cent (kinnow), 80 per cent (pear), 78 per cent (peach) and 30 per cent to mango as well as plum.

The application of insecticides is not much effective and also causes environmental hazards, leading to a negative impact on soil health. Amid this scenario, the adoption of eco-friendly techniques for managing insect-pests of fruit crops has emerged as a viable option among farmers across Punjab.

Prominent among these techniques developed by Punjab Agricultural University (PAU), Ludhiana, are the fruit fly trap and the termite trap, while integrated management of snails in the citrus nursery, integrated pest management (IPM) of mango hoppers and bagging for fruit fly management in guava are also being practised.

Popular techniques for saving fruits

PAU fruit fly trap

Fruit fly trap

The PAU fruit fly trap is the most popular of these techniques. Till date, the university has sold around 52,000 PAU fruit fly traps, while 21,500 have been supplied to the fruit growers and government orchards for frontline demonstrations under the National Horticulture Mission (NHM) projects, thus covering an area of 4,600 acres under fruit fly traps. This trap is being adopted by more than 90 per cent of the fruit growers of Punjab, besides being used in kitchen gardens.

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According to Dr Sandeep Singh, Senior Entomologist (Fruits) and team leader for developing these techniques, fruit growers of Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh are purchasing PAU fruit fly traps from the university’s Department of Fruit Science.

Eco-friendly management of fruit flies can be done by fixing PAU fruit fly traps at the rate of 16 traps/acre in the second week of April, first week of May, third week of May, first week of June, first week of July and second week of August, respectively. Traps can be re-charged after 30 days, if needed, and one trap costs around Rs 100. It is best suited for the management of male fruit flies in kinnow, guava, mango, pear, peach and plum.

“In the rainy season, guava suffer maximum infestation due to the carry-over of fruit flies from other early-ripening fruit crops — peach, pear, mango, litchi, plum, grapes, loquat, jamun, sapota, pomegranate, fig, banana and papaya — and from vegetable crops, especially cucumber. The fruit fly trap is the most effective and economical way of controlling the menace,” says Gurusewak Singh, a farmer from Malerkotla.

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Termite trap

Termite trap

Termites in the fruit crop no longer bother farmers who use earthen pot-based traps. Eco-friendly management of termites can be done by burying gul (maize cobs without grains)-filled 24-holed earthen pots of 13-inch diameter with lid at the rate of 14 per acre in termite-infested orchards of pear, ber, peach, grape and amla during the first week of April and then in the first week of September. These pots should have their necks outside the soil surface. The pots should be removed from the soil after 20 days of installation and the termites collected should be destroyed by dipping in water containing a few drops of diesel.

A total of 4,578 termite traps have been supplied by PAU to the fruit growers and government orchards for frontline demonstrations under the NHM projects, covering 327 acres.

“I have been using termite traps for the past four years in my orchard. It is an eco-friendly technique as there is no pesticide residue in fruits, soil, plants and environment. The cost of fixing of earthen pots in the orchards is quite cheap (Rs 980/acre). A single pot has the capacity to trap more than 100,000 termites,” says Ravinderpal Singh.

Integrated management of snails in citrus nursery

In this technique, papaya leaves are spread in/around the nursery area to attract snails. Then, the snails are collected and put into a bucket containing salt water to kill them. Wet gunny bags are kept in the nursery area as snails try to hide under them.

IPM of mango hoppers

In this method of integrated pest management, the spray of PAU home-made neem extract and PAU home-made Dharek extract (5 litres per acre) is effective in reducing the population of hoppers in mango.

Fruit fly bagging

The mature green and hard fruits of guava should be covered with a biodegradable white-coloured non-woven bags of 9 inch x 6 inch from June-end to mid-July. For proper bagging of fruits, stapler or needle pins can be used. The bagged fruits should be harvested at the colour-break stage.

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Polyphagous menace

Fruit flies Bactrocera dorsalis and Bactrocera zonata are polyphagous pests that damage various fruit crops and multiply profusely. The female adult fruit fly punctures the fruit at the colour-break stage and deposits its eggs below the epicarp. On hatching, the maggots feed on the soft pulp of the ripening fruits. The punctured portion start rotting and the fruit fall down prematurely. The duration of activity of the fruit flies on mango fruits is from the last week of May to the last week of July. These flies also attack peach, plum, kinnow and guava crops. Isolated orchards are less infested by fruit flies. The duo can cause up to 100 per cent damage in the rainy season to the guava crop, 85 per cent to kinnow, 80 per cent (pear), 78 per cent (peach) and 30 per cent to mango as well as plum.

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Biological products: The new tool of agriculture

USDA ARSWFP-ARS-soybeans.jpg

A field of soybeans.

New research tools, like genomic sequencing, have provided the ability to understand the vast diversity of microbiology.

Jeremiah Vardiman | Jul 08, 2022

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Farm Progress Show

Aug 30, 2022 to Sep 01, 2022

Just mentioning the word biologicals in an agriculture conversation can invoke various responses that range from silence to enthusiasm and anything in between. To be clear, a biological is a product that contains beneficial, naturally occurring microorganisms or microbial derivatives as active ingredients.

Whether an individual is skeptical about or in favor of biologicals, the fact is that agriculture companies have shown an increased interest in these products in the past decade. In that time frame investments in this sector have stimulated a surge in the development of various types of new biological products. Hundreds of startup companies selling biological products have also popped up.

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Biologicals, such as inoculums for legumes, are not new to the agriculture industry, so why all the hype right now? New research tools, like genomic sequencing, have provided the ability to understand the vast diversity of microbiology and its functions in agricultural systems.

The theory around biologicals is that certain microorganisms perform beneficial functions that should increase functions within the soil or plant; by applying these microorganisms to various cropping systems, they provide increased plant health and vigor that could supplement or offer an alternative to conventional fertilizers and pesticides. The theory assumes that these products have a lower impact on the environment during production and after application.

If biologicals are so great, why are they not utilized more? There are a few reasons why producers are not jumping on the biological bandwagon yet. The first hurdle is lack of understanding and confusion about biologicals in general. The second hurdle is that there is little to no information on the effectiveness of these products. The last obstacle is the inconsistency of product performance in different environments and soil conditions.

Unfortunately, the biological market is very confusing because of the various jargon utilized, starting with the term biological. Again, the definition of a biological is a product that contains beneficial, naturally occurring microorganisms or microbial derivatives as active ingredients. Biologicals are also referred to as probiotics, biofertilizers, biofungicides, biocontrols, and biostimulants. Sometimes these terms are used interchangeably, which adds to the confusion.

The two major types of biologicals are biostimulants and biopesticides. Biostimulants are biologicals that enhance a plant’s growth, health, and productivity; this category includes biofertilizers, fulvic acid, microbial inoculants, plant growth regulators, and others. It is important to know that biostimulants that are labeled only for growth promotion and without a claim for pest control may not be regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Biopesticides control pests

In contrast, biopesticides are biologicals that protect against or directly control pests, such as bacterial and fungal pathogens, insects, and weeds. Biopesticides are generally subject to EPA registration and regulation, and are referred to as bioherbicides, bioinsecticides, and biofungicides. Products that provide both a biostimulant and biopesticide are less common.

It is important to note that biological products are as beneficial to conventional production as to organic systems. Organic systems tend to utilize biologicals more because of the limited pest management options.

If biologicals are used in conventional production, make sure they are compatible with the chemicals used in the operation and do not significantly increase input costs. Biologicals are recommended as a supplement to conventional chemicals, not as a replacement.

As with many products in agriculture, the success of biologicals depends on applying them at the right time, place, and concentration. However, biologicals are different than other products because they may contain live organisms that need to survive through the application process and then thrive in the environment.

The microorganisms need to attain large populations in the environment to show observable effects on crop productivity. Many factors, such as temperature, pH, organic matter, salt concentration, and moisture, affect the survival of different microorganisms. These factors are why biologicals may have inconsistent results and comprise an active area of research.

The investment and market direction toward biologicals indicates that these products will play a significant role in crop production in the future. Take time to learn more about biologicals and if they could benefit your operation.

Source: University of Wyoming, which is solely responsible for the information provided and is wholly owned by the source. Informa Business Media and all its subsidiaries are not responsible for any of the content contained in this information asset.

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Science News

from research organizations


Photorhabdus luminescens — a true all-rounder: Insect pathogenic bacterium also helps to combat fungal infestation

Date:July 6, 2022Source:Johannes Gutenberg Universitaet MainzSummary:The bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens is already used as bioinsecticide to protect crops against a wide range of insect pests. Researchers have recently demonstrated that P. luminescens can also protect plants against fungal infection.Share:

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Future food shortages are expected to become exacerbated in many parts of the world. With this in view, sustainable biological techniques are being explored that could increase the yield of cereals and other food crops and which, unlike the use of chemical pesticides, are environmentally compatible. The bacterium Photorhabdus luminescens is already used as bioinsecticide to protect crops against a wide range of insect pests. Researchers at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in Germany have recently demonstrated that P. luminescens can also protect plants against fungal infection. A secondary cell form of the bacterium is responsible for this additional effect. This variant first colonizes the fungal mycelium and then destroys it by degrading chitin, a major component of the cell wall of fungi. The results of this research could be very significant in future, particularly with regard to cereal production. “We see this as a prime opportunity to make farming more environmentally friendly and sustainable with the help of these bacteria,” said Professor Ralf Heermann of JGU.

Biological methods may result in higher crop yields

Like other plants, crops are susceptible to environmental stresses, diseases, and infestation by pests. This has an impact on crop yields and food production and raises concerns about food security in the light of the growing global population. The most extensive agricultural losses are attributable to weed invasion, animal pests, and also plant diseases caused by bacteria, fungi, and viruses. In the past, it was the intensive use of chemical plant protection agents that ensured higher yields and thus improved the food supply. However, this came at the cost of environmental damage, the risk of fatal toxicity for humans and non-target organisms such as pollinator insects, and not least the unwanted modification of the composition of the soil microbiome.

An alternative approach is the use of biological agents such as rhizobacteria that promote plant growth and nematodes that attack insect pests. These are two examples of new and sustainable agricultural techniques to combat plant pests.

Primary cells of Photorhabdus luminescens kill insects and make them glow

Among these more sustainable approaches is the use of Photorhabdus luminescens as a beneficial organism that destroys insect larvae. This bacterium lives in symbiosis with small nematodes that penetrate the insect larvae and subsequently release the bacterium inside them. This then secretes numerous toxins that lead to the death of the insect larvae, simultaneously producing a bioluminescent enzyme called luciferase that makes the dead larvae glow.

About two years ago, the research group of Professor Ralf Heermann discovered that there is an additional phenotype cell of P. luminescens that, although it is unable to undergo symbiosis with nematodes, is capable of surviving in soil on its own. This secondary cell type is genetically identical with the primary form, but lacks certain phenotypic properties, such as bioluminescence. However, according to the group’s new findings, these secondary cells are extraordinarily effective against fungal infection. Using beef tomato plants as an example, Heermann’s team of microbiologists showed that infestation by the phytopathogenic fungus Fusarium graminearum can be prevented by the bacteria as they colonize the fungal hyphae, breaking down the chitin there. The scientists also managed to identify the molecular mechanism responsible involving an enzyme called chitinase and a chitin-binding protein. This enables the bacteria to dissolve the structure of a fungus, specifically its cell wall, and effectively inhibit fungal growth.

New potential application to promote plant growth and protect against fungal infection

“Furthermore, we were able to show that the secondary cell type of the bacterium colonizes the fungal hyphae in particular. This sets in motion one of the first mechanisms that protects plants against pathogens,” explained Dr. Nazzareno Dominelli, a member of Heermann’s team and the lead author of the recently published paper. “Thanks to our results, we can now propose a new use for P. luminescens – as an organism that both promotes plant growth and protects plants against fungal infection.”

The research team plans to continue investigating the promising potential that P. luminescens offers with regard to biological crop protection. Initial indications suggest that the secondary, non-luminescent cell type, which actively seeks out the roots of plants, may offer additional biotechnological benefits for agriculture.

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Journal Reference:

  1. Nazzareno Dominelli, Fabio Platz, Ralf Heermann. The Insect Pathogen Photorhabdus luminescens Protects Plants from Phytopathogenic Fusarium graminearum via Chitin DegradationApplied and Environmental Microbiology, 2022; 88 (11) DOI: 10.1128/aem.00645-22

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MAY 2, 2022

Organic pesticides to provide natural protection for endangered crops

by Vittoria D’alessio, Horizon: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine

Organic pesticides to provide natural protection for endangered crops
The iconic European olive crop is in urgent in need of a biopesticide solution to fight the Xylella fastidiosa bacterium,. Credit: © Fabio Michele Capelli, Shutterstock

Some vitally important European crops like vines and olives are being devastated by disease. Scientists are searching for biological replacements for chemical pesticides to improve crop and human health.

The threat to agriculture from invasive species is huge. The United Nations (UN) estimates that plant disease costs the world’s economy over €200 billion per year, with 20–40% of crop production lost to pests.

“The economic loss from invasive species is immense, and if we took no action, there would be a huge amount of food insecurity, not only across the EU but across the globe,” said Dr. Hikmate Abriouel, professor of microbiology at Universidad de Jaén in Spain’s Andalucía.

With the stakes so high, it’s easy to understand why the agricultural sector is one of the largest users of chemicals worldwide.

The question of food security is uppermost these days. But, as Dr. Abriouel goes on to explain, our growing reluctance to use chemicals in agriculture adds a layer of complication to farming.

“There was a time when it was normal to rely on powerful pesticides to treat agricultural land,” she said. “But now we know that a chemical designed to kill a living organism is likely to have negative impacts on other biological systems too.”

Spraying crops with synthetic compounds has adverse impacts on people, farm animals, wildlife, pollinators like bees and other living things that play an essential role in the ecosystem. The chemical runoff also damages the land and water.

Pollution risk

Pesticide pollution causes risk to farmland from the chemical residues that leach into water supplies.

Some synthetic pesticides have been linked to human diseases like cancer, diseases of the immune system and respiratory illnesses.

Farmers who work with pesticides are particularly vulnerable to side-effects, with an estimated 44% of farm workers worldwide experiencing at least one incident of acute pesticide poisoning every year.

The EU’s Farm to Fork (F2F) strategy for sustainable food production targets significant reductions in the use of chemical pesticides, fertilizers and antimicrobials and supports an increase in organic farming. Sustainability goals mean biopesticides or biological alternatives to pesticides are required.

“There is a lot of evidence that replacing chemicals with biopesticides works with nature rather than against it,” said Dr. Abriouel. Biological solutions benefit soil health and biodiversity too.

Dying vines

In France alone, around 12% of vineyards were unproductive between 2012 and 2017 due to Grape Trunk Disease (GTD) which has been spreading across Europe over the past two decades. A chemical pesticide used to treat vines was banned because it is harmful to human and environmental health.

The disease results in 50% less productive plants, a decrease in the quality of the wine and the premature death of healthy vines. Worldwide, estimates for the replacement cost of grapevines exceed €1.4 billion per year.

As a response to this blight, the EU is funding the multinational BIOBESTicide project which aims to find a biological solution to GTD.

“Our aim is to produce a really effective, totally natural preventive solution to this very serious and very expensive problem,” said Dr. Assia Dreux-Zigha who works for the French biotechnology company Greencell and is coordinating the BIOBESTicide research.

The team’s research is focused on a specific strain of Pythium oligandrum—a “friendly” fungus that is naturally present in the rhizosphere of many crop plants, including vines. The rhizosphere is the microorganism-rich region of soil directly around a plant’s roots.

P. oligandrum works both by destroying parasites directly and by inducing plant resistance against further attack. After isolating P. oligandrum in the lab, Greencell and its partners found that under certain conditions, the biopesticide colonized the roots of vines and stimulated the plant’s natural defenses against GTD.

In the near future, following trials and safety approval, the BIOBESTicide researchers aim to scale up and field-test their biopesticide in vineyards across different geographical areas.

“This is a very challenging project but, when we finish in late-2023, we hope to have a solution that will make it possible for vine plants to survive for their entire natural lifecycles,” said Dr. Dreux-Zigha.

Undoubtedly, winemakers will raise a glass to this prospect.

Olive preserver

A second iconic European crop urgently in need of a biopesticide solution is the olive. First detected in European olives in 2013, Olive Quick Decline Syndrome (OQDS) is the disease caused by the bacterium Xylella fastidiosa.

In Puglia, southern Italy, where Xylella first surfaced on the continent, olive production shrank by 65–80% in the years up to 2020 with the loss of an estimated 100,000 jobs and the destruction of 400-year-old heritage olive trees.

Xylella has surfaced in France, Spain and Portugal, spread by an insect called the spittlebug. Affected plants are infected from the roots upwards, causing the leaves to turn brown and eventually killing the plant. It is considered one of the most dangerous plant pathogenic bacteria in the world.

“The problem with this pathogen is getting worse,” said Dr. Abriouel, who supervises the EU-backed SMART-AGRI-SPORE project, which aims to develop a biopesticide based on bacterial spores.

“Preventing further spread of this pest is a priority in the EU,” she said. A 2020 study estimated that as a worst-case scenario, Italy alone stands to lose between €1.9 billion and €5.2 billion over a 50-year period as a result of OQDS.

A number of projects are developing biopesticides to attack Xylella. Principal researcher Dr. Julia Manetsberger under the supervision of Dr. Abriouel is focused on modifying a strain of another bacteria to render it deadly to Xylella.

The researchers are hopeful that by 2024, a viable biopesticide will emerge from this research.

“We can’t use something against Xylella that changes the biodiversity or destroys or increases the resistance of microorganisms present in other plants and soil,” said Dr. Abriouel. “In other words, we can’t solve one problem and create another.”

“We are working hard to reach this objective,” said Dr. Manetsberger, “These plants are so important for our economy and we need to defend them.”


Explore further

France reports first case of fatal olive tree bacteria


Provided by Horizon: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine 

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