The workpackage of the EUCLID project dealing with the assessment of new methods in IPM has generated a lot of results during these last two years (WP2). Biological control techniques are various: it can use products extracted from plants but also insects (macro-biocontrol agents) or fungi and bacteria (micro-biocontrol agents).
Within the EUCLID project, partners found promising results about the use of a predator from the mirid bugs family against the tomato leaf miner in tomato plant. Its efficiency was found to be higher than a previously used mirid bug, which makes it interesting to use in IPM. Another insect species was found to be efficient against the tomato leaf miner, a parasitoid that reduced consequently the leaf miner population in tomato crops. Micro-biocontrol agents developed by the company Agri New Tech (ANT, partner in EUCLID) were efficient against various soil and air-borne pathogens in tomato, grape and lettuce crops. The Italian SME (or ANT) also developed a fortified compost in order to control soil-borne pathogens that has been proved to be very efficient by project partners working on tomato pathogens.
New techniques are also developed within EUCLID at the University of Ghent focusing on the designing and testing gene specific dsRNAs against target pests (trips, whitefly and tomato moth). This technique has already been proved to be efficient against a key pest in corn and is tested as a pesticide in the project against trips, whitefly and the tomato leaf miner. First results show the efficiency of the technique against trips and tomato leaf miner. The same partners (Which?? – they are not mentioned before, except ANT) or Partner working in this workpackage also found an efficient delivery product based on corn powder in entomovectoring technique which principle is to spread micro-biocontrol agents through the pollination activity of the bumblebees. The final goal will be to combine this technique with newly find micro-biological control agents.
Another new technique developed by the company Oxitec (partner in EUCLID) is the production of sterile insects that already have been proved to be efficient in the reduction of mosquito populations. The UK company focused its research on developing cabbage moth sterile males which was successful. The goal now is to produce these insects in high quantities in order to spread it into the fields.
Finally, the EUCLID consortium focused its research on the effect of plant richness and environment on the presence of naturally occurring predators and parasitoids. Some of the partners work on crop richness design which has been proved to increase the yields of tomato crops and the parasitism rates of aphids. Other studies also show the importance of calendula flowers presence around tomato greenhouses on the presence of a key predator of whitefly and tomato moths.
Overall, promising results have been found to efficiently reduce the impact of key pests and pathogens on tomato, grape and lettuce – the three crops of EUCLID project. These techniques will be tested in 2018 in field work program which will be carried out in WP4 and will soon be presented in different workshops where stakeholders will be invited.
Photo credit: Biobest