14TSB_ATC_IR Lure-and-kill technology to manage beetle pests (Sitona lineatus and Bruchus rufimanus) of field beans and peas

Lead Research Organisation: Keele University
Department Name: Faculty of Natural Sciences

Abstract

This project seeks to develop autodissemination of entomopathogens for bio-control of Sitona lineatus and Bruchus rufimanus, two major pests of UK legumes that affect yield and quality. An aggregation pheromone for S. lineatus, highly attractive to both sexes, was identified by Rothamsted Research in the early 1980's. A monitoring trap for B. rufimanus, incorporating a floral lure, is under development in TSB project 100871. This project will develop a 'lure and kill' trap combining entomopathogenic fungi with semio-chemicals, formulated electrostatically to enable better delivery to target insects. This will provide an effective and novel pest management tool. There is currently no bio-control system available to UK pulse growers for these pests. Use of insecticide as a killing agent will also be tested. The project will advance sustainable intensification of agriculture and deliver economic impact for the UK Agri-Tech industry by tackling the challenge to quality and production caused by insect pests of pea and bean crops whilst reducing adverse impacts on the environment. Many growers apply 5 to 6 pyrethroid sprays to achieve sufficient control of adult Sitona lineatus to prevent yield loss, and as pest pressure increases, insecticides prove less effective. Alternative approaches for crop protection are needed. The 'lure-and-kill' system developed by the project will provide 'proof of concept' for other pests and crops.

Technical Summary

This project seeks to develop autodissemination of entomopathogens for bio-control of Sitona lineatus and Bruchus rufimanus, two major pests of UK legumes that affect yield and quality. An aggregation pheromone for S. lineatus, highly attractive to both sexes, was identified by Rothamsted Research in the early 1980's. A monitoring trap for B. rufimanus, incorporating a floral lure, is under development in TSB project 100871. This project will develop a 'lure and kill' trap combining entomopathogenic fungi with semio-chemicals, formulated electrostatically to enable better delivery to target insects. This will provide an effective and novel pest management tool. There is currently no bio-control system available to UK pulse growers for these pests. Use of insecticide as a killing agent will also be tested. The project will advance sustainable intensification of agriculture and deliver economic impact for the UK Agri-Tech industry by tackling the challenge to quality and production caused by insect pests of pea and bean crops whilst reducing adverse impacts on the environment. Many growers apply 5 to 6 pyrethroid sprays to achieve sufficient control of adult Sitona lineatus to prevent yield loss, and as pest pressure increases, insecticides prove less effective. Alternative approaches for crop protection are needed. The 'lure-and-kill' system developed by the project will provide 'proof of concept' for other pests and crops.

Planned Impact

Our project will provide a bridge between industry research and academic research to allow development of the lure-and-kill innovation into a commercially viable product. Successful delivery of the project would provide positive feedback in allowing partners to realise the benefit of investing in R&D. The system will be transferable to other pests and crops. Increasing the confidence of growers that yield and quality impact can be controlled using this system could lead to an increase in the area of peas and beans grown in the UK. The SMEs in the consortium (PGRO, Exosect, Oecos and Velcourt) would grow and the large company (BASF) would market project outcomes overseas.

The project would generate economic benefit and value to the UK economy on several levels:
a) Pea and bean growers in the UK and the main global pulse growing regions would benefit from reduced yield and quality losses and more efficient farm operations and from reductions in pesticide applications.
b) Pulse crops are nitrogen fixing and have great benefits in the crop rotation as they can help to reduce the build-up of pests, weeds and diseases of other crops. They also provide a valuable source of vegetable protein. Thus, there would be wider benefits from making their production more reliable for growers. Government and EU policy has identified protein crops as high priority for research and development, to increase levels of home-grown pulses to supply animal feed markets and increase sustainability of supplies by reducing soya bean imports. The market for UK pulses is currently undersupplied and potential for creating new markets for human consumption products, whilst increasing levels of pulse protein in animal feed is high.
c) There is potential to increase the export market of UK grown peas and beans, especially if grower confidence in yield and quality is improved.
d) The knowledge economy of the UK would benefit as companies realise the opportunity for meeting gaps in the market in agriculture by investing in R&D to deliver innovation (which is urgently needed for crop protection).
e) The manufacturing sector would grow as the UK develops new crop protection solutions for the home and export markets.
f) The project, by contributing to more efficient crop production, would help to maintain lower food prices with consequent health, social and economic benefits for society in general. Food prices are at historically low levels as a proportion of income but collapses in crop protection in the EU could lead to rising food costs, especially as imported food might not remain as inexpensive as it currently is as countries such as China become more affluent and increase their purchasing power.
g) More efficient crop production (lower losses to pests) reduces the environmental impact of agriculture as less land, water, fertiliser and energy are used to grow equivalent quantities.
Successful delivery of the project objectives would allow further research in other crops and pests, increasing the value of the project.

Publications

10 25 50
publication icon
Michelmore R (2017) Foundational and Translational Research Opportunities to Improve Plant Health. in Molecular plant-microbe interactions : MPMI

publication icon
Storkey J (2019) Agroecosystem Diversity

Related Projects

Project Reference Relationship Related To Start End Award Value
BB/M011542/1 01/10/2014 30/06/2017 £270,483
BB/M011542/2 Transfer BB/M011542/1 01/10/2017 31/12/2018 £97,041
 
Description Our innovative Agri-tech Catalyst project, led by the Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO), is developing a "lure-and-kill" approach to manage agricultural pests. Currently blanket sprays of insecticide are used against the pea and bean weevil (Sitona lineatus) which attacks nitrogen fixing root nodules of field beans and peas and the bruchid beetle (Bruchus rufimanus) which severely reduces the saleable quality of field beans by burrowing holes in them. Instead of applying blanket sprays to the entire crop canopy, which is hard to penetrate and makes targeted application difficult, our vision is to lure the pests to a bait station containing small amounts of bioinsecticide which stick to the body of the pest. This will improve the targeting of the control measures and provide a much needed new solution because pyrethroid pesticide resistance is evolving in the pea and bean weevil.

For the project, BASF and Exosect are supplying isolates of entomopathogenic fungus (a naturally occurring fungal disease of insects). Exosect are formulating them with Entostat, an electrostatically charged micropowder they have developed, which sticks the fungi to the body of the pest. This can be used as a carrier for insecticides or bioinsecticides. Rothamsted have identified an aggregation pheromone specific for the pea and bean weevil which attracts both sexes and floral attractants for the bruchid beetle. These attractants will be formulated with the killing agent and placed strategically in inoculation stations in the field that we will develop with another project partner, Oecos.
Since the project started in October 2014, our first steps have been to determine and control the release rate of the attractants over time (a critical component of product longevity), and to determine the effectiveness of the different treatments in killing the pests. We have been measuring the release rate of the attractants by collecting them from air drawn over the test formulations. Odours collected on a filter are analysed by gas chromatography which allows us to quantify the amount of chemical released over a given time period. We are working with Exosect to improve the longevity of the product.

We have been testing in the lab the effectiveness of two strains of the insect fungal disease together with alpha-cypermethrin as a standard insecticide. Different doses of formulation have been put in Petri dishes and 10 beetles put in each dish. Numbers of dead insects are recorded at regular intervals for three weeks. The insect mortality results to date are encouraging and not only show that the insect fungal disease works but also that the effectiveness of the conventional insecticide is improved. Thus the components are being assembled for the "lure-and-kill" system.

Field trials were conducted in 2018 at PGRO and at Keele-Harper. Key findings were:
- Beetle pests of beans are abundant in the field - particularly the pea and bean weevil (Sitona lineatus). The weevils attack the nitrogen fixing root nodules and may explain geographic variation in yields.
- The standard alpha-cypermethrin treatment (which was supposed to be a positive control) no longer works. In field plot trials that we ran this year at two locations (PGRO and Harper Adams) there was no difference in insect levels in untreated plots and plots treated with alpha-cypermethrin. We think this is because of pyrethroid insecticide resistance which has already been well documented in this species.
- The components of the lure and kill work well: the aggregation pheromone is highly attractive both in the lab and field; the Entostat formulation of Beauvaria bassiana does kill the beetles. It takes a few days to do so and so the speed of action is slower than a conventional insecticide but it has a major advantage of remaining active for several weeks.
- The prototype lure and kill system is not yet reducing insect levels in field plot trials. It seems that we need to increase the throughput of insects moving through the bait stations - there are huge numbers in the field and a relatively small proportion move through the killing station. Another limitation is the small plot size in our experiments (6m x 6m). That size is OK for conventional insecticide treatments when the insects die immediately after treatment but might not be so good for the new treatment (especially if you consider that it is using an attractant as well as a killing agent).
- Deployment of our novel approach may need to involve catching insects before they go to overwintering sites or catching them as them emerge from them in the Spring. It may be more effective as a year round treatment, especially if Beauvaria bassiana levels build up in the field.

Our project provides insights into development of a new pest management solution (lure and kill) for beetle pests in pea and bean crops, a solution which may be transferable to other cropping systems. If efficacy (throughput of insects) can be improved, the benefits to the grower will be: increased pest control through a more targeted application of the insecticide; reduced use of insecticide per hectare; the option of different modes of killing agent which allows the product to be available to both conventional and organic growers; and as large volumes of water are not be required for uniform application, this product can be applied during periods of water shortages. There is an urgent need for new solutions due to pesticide resistance problems and concern about effects of pesticides on non-target species. The inoculation station with insect fungal disease would be a biological solution to the problem but lure-and-kill will also enable better targeting of conventional pesticides by using specific attractants to limit the classes of insects that come into contact with them.
Exploitation Route This concept could be applied to other pests and could dramatically improved the targeting of control interventions. Using a selective semiochemical could improve the selectivity of a conventional pesticide and better targeting improve their environmental profile.
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Creative Economy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology

URL https://agritech.blog.gov.uk/2015/07/27/agritech-catalyst-beetles/
 
Description Industry partners in the project are learning about how to improve targeting of crop protection measures by combining them with semiochemicals in a lure-and-kill approach
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink,Chemicals,Creative Economy,Environment,Manufacturing, including Industrial Biotechology
 
Description COMMONS SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY COMMITTEE - Secured New Government inquiry into "the role of science and technology in addressing challenges to food security and biodiversity"
Geographic Reach Multiple continents/international 
Policy Influence Type Participation in a advisory committee
Impact Successfully securing this inquiry will have an impact in raising awareness and improving political will to use science and technology to address challenges to food security and biodiversity. Agriculture has been neglected since the last Green Revolution in the 1960s and 21st Century challenges need to be taken more seriously. The Commons STC is a high level committee overseeing delivery of science across all government departments. While the inquiry has not yet been launched, I am confident that it will make a difference to the areas highlighted above. Here is our University press release, which has more details: "Professor Toby Bruce has secured a full Government inquiry into the role of science and technology in addressing challenges to food security and biodiversity, following his successful pitch to the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee in January. Professor Bruce's pitch was one of just four chosen to be taken forward as a full Government inquiry. The committee has combined Professor Bruce's recommendations on food security and crop protection with a related topic on gene editing techniques from Nicola Patron of the Earlham Institute. A report published this week by the Science and Technology Committee said: "Professor Toby Bruce suggested that we should hold an inquiry into food security, the environment and crop protection. He suggested that an inquiry could look at the tools available to farmers to protect crops against pests, weeds and diseases, how these had changed over time, what changes were needed to ensure food security in the future and research investment in crop protection. We will incorporate this into an inquiry into the role of science and technology in addressing challenges to food security and biodiversity." Professor Bruce said: "I am delighted that 'My Science Inquiry' is being taken forward to a full inquiry and look forward to working with the Commons Science and Technology Committee. There is an urgent need for increased research and innovation to help improve food security and protect the environment. I hope that the forthcoming inquiry will be a catalyst for change and will help to address some serious limitations that currently impede our innovation system, particularly with respect to providing new options for protecting harvests from pests". During the presentation of his research, Professor Bruce said: "The choice we have at the moment is having to choose between food security and the environment, so we need to find a way forward in which we can safeguard our crops without environmental impact, partly through smarter regulation to bring more inventions into the market. There is a critical shortage of new treatments but there's also underinvestment in this area. It's a major challenge that we face this century, how do we feed the world without wrecking the environment in the process." The Commons Science and Technology Committee will launch their inquiry into the role of science and technology in addressing challenges to food security and biodiversity within the next 12 months."
URL http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/science-and-technology-co...
 
Description Biological crop protection: a new 'slow down/speed up' strategy for aphid management
Amount £608,173 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/R021708/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 08/2018 
End 07/2021
 
Description Harper Adams University 
Organisation Harper Adams University
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Sharing of facilities and expertise
Collaborator Contribution Sharing of facilities and expertise
Impact We have applied for a new £5M collaborative research centre and have been invited to a stage two application that we are currently waiting for the decision on (Research England E3 initiative) We have an existing joint research project, BB/R021708/1, "Biological crop protection: a new 'slow down/speed up' strategy for aphid management"
Start Year 2017
 
Description PGRO 
Organisation Processors and Growers Research Organisation (PGRO)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Processors and Growers Research Organisation
Collaborator Contribution Industry Lead Partner
Impact Collaboration in delivery of the project
Start Year 2017
 
Description AAB Advances in IPM 2017 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact The project was discussed at the AAB Advances in IPM conference
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
URL http://www.aab.org.uk/images/advances_in_ipm_2017_cfp.pdf
 
Description Association of Applied Biologists: Advances in IPM conference 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Organised and chaired Association of Applied Biologists: Advances in IPM conference Organised and chaired
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Biopesticide Summit, Swansea, 2-3 July 2019 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Gave a keynote, invited talk: "The role of science and technology in addressing challenges to food security and biodiversity"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://biopesticidesummit.com
 
Description CONGRATULATIONS TO PROFESSOR TOBY BRUCE'S GROUP 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Undergraduate students
Results and Impact Keele Website
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.keele.ac.uk/lifesci/news/2018/november/congratulationstoprofessortobybrucesgroup/food-se...
 
Description CROPROTECT - Twitter feed 
Form Of Engagement Activity Engagement focused website, blog or social media channel
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Twitter feed for raising awareness about CROPROTECT activities
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2014,2015,2016,2017
URL https://twitter.com/croprotect/
 
Description Farmers Guardian article 
Form Of Engagement Activity A magazine, newsletter or online publication
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Farmers Guardian article, 17 Nov 2017, "Closing the gap in crop protection development"
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Innovate UK Biopesticides event, Invited plenary lecture, London 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Innovate UK Biopesticides event, Invited plenary lecture, London, 12 April 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Invited Seminar at Newcastle University (3 April 2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited Seminar at Newcastle University
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Invited Seminar at University of Warwick (2 May 2019) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Invited Seminar at University of Warwick (2 May 2019)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description Lecture on Integrated Pest Management (IPM) 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact Delivered a lecture on integrated pest management and these projects were used as examples to demonstrate the cutting edge research being done in crop protection.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018,2019,2020
 
Description Lecture to General Public 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach Regional
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Gave an hour long presentation on exploiting chemical ecology to produce healthy crops for the general public at a local museum's science communication event.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
 
Description News Item in The Guardian 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact News Article about pesticides and crop protection in The Guardian
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/nov/14/miniature-robots-could-cut-pesticide-use-on-farm...
 
Description News item in Farmers Weekly 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Industry/Business
Results and Impact Interview with Johann Tasker about appearance before Commons Science and Technology Committee in Parliament and subsequent article in Farmers Weekly
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2019
URL https://www.fwi.co.uk/arable/crop-management/politicians-face-critical-choice-on-food-security-warns...
 
Description Press release 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Media (as a channel to the public)
Results and Impact Press Release at the Science Media Centre, 13 November 2017. 15 Journalists attended a presentation about Protecting Harvests from Pests
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description Reuters VIDEO: Scientists search for sustainable solutions to stop the fall armyworm 
Form Of Engagement Activity A press release, press conference or response to a media enquiry/interview
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Public/other audiences
Results and Impact Reuters filmed interview and online broadcast
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
URL https://www.reuters.com/video/2018/08/29/scientists-search-for-sustainable-soluti?videoId=459280539&...
 
Description UK Vector Borne Diseases conference, John Innes Centre, 4 Dec 2018 
Form Of Engagement Activity A talk or presentation
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Professional Practitioners
Results and Impact Gave a talk at UK Vector Borne Diseases conference, John Innes Centre, 4 Dec 2018
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018
 
Description Voluntary Initiative meeting with George Eustice MP 
Form Of Engagement Activity A formal working group, expert panel or dialogue
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Policymakers/politicians
Results and Impact Prof Toby Bruce made a presentation about CROPROTECT findings at George Eustice's office at Defra on 11 July 2017. The project was described and evidence from the project about priority pests, weeds and diseases that require new control solutions was shared with Defra.
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2017
 
Description postgraduate short course on insect pest management 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach International
Primary Audience Postgraduate students
Results and Impact A postgraduate short course on insect pest management (26 students at UFSCar, Brazil, May 2018)
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2018