15AGRITECHCAT4: Early attractants for the major new fruit pest, Drosophila suzukii; a 'super lure'

Lead Research Organisation: University of Greenwich
Department Name: Natural Resources Institute, FES

Abstract

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Planned Impact

This project addresses Challenge 4 in the UK Strategy for Agricultural Technologies: Develop integrated approaches to the effective management of crop weeds, pests and diseases within farming systems. There are increasing demands from the public as citizens and consumers, from governments and from growers themselves to reduce use of chemical insecticides and to adopt a more integrated approach to pest management. Integrated pest management involves use of a wide range of cultural and control approaches to reduce or avoid the use of chemical insecticides. One such approach is the use of semiochemicals which control insect behaviour. These can be used in various ways. Attractants can be used to bait traps to monitor for the presence of a pest, an essential component of integrated pest management. Large numbers of traps can be used to control pests by mass trapping or pests can be attracted to a killing agent or a microbial infective agent. Synthetic semiochemicals can also be used to disrupt the normal communication pathways between insects and/or their hosts. Semiochemicals have many advantages as crop protection agents. Those based on natural products are typically nontoxic to animals and plants in that they act by modifying behaviour rather than killing. They often highly biologically active so only small amounts are required to be effective and they are typically non-persistent. Furthermore, because of their mode of action they are less likely to induce resistance in the pests.

This project aims to develop a more powerful and more specific semiochemical attractant for what has become the major single pest of soft and stone fruit in Europe and the USA, spotted wing Drosophila, Drosophila suzukii. The project is being carried out in collaboration with a commercial partner, Real IPM, who will benefit directly from having new products to market that are more effective than those of competitors. These are likely to include traps and lures for monitoring D. suzukii and control devices based on lure-and-kill with an insecticide and lure-and-infect with a mycopesticide, Met69, already produced by Real IPM. It is estimated fruit susceptible to D. suzukii is grown on 13,700 ha in the UK (FAOSTAT UK crop data for 2013), a potential market for 13,700 monitoring traps and at least one million lure-and-kill or lure-and-infect devices in the UK alone.

Project partners include Berry Gardens, a cooperative of growers who will benefit from having improved control of a key pest. Soft and stone fruit grown in the UK has an estimated value of £422 million (FAOSTAT UK crop data for 2013). A
conservative estimate of 20% lost to damage by D. suzukii implies a potential saving of £84 million pa in the UK alone.

At present the only effective control method against D. suzukii is the insecticide chlorpyrifos. Development of effective monitoring traps and control devices based on attractants will help reduce the amount of insecticide used in line with the UK Government's Strategy for Agricultural Technologies and the demands from supermarkets and the public in general. This project will help to sustain and grow the size and competitiveness of the UK fruit and ancillary industries, and the increased commercial economic return and less waste will impact on many governmental initiatives and goals for UK food production. The government wants the UK horticultural sector to double its production and become more "Food Secure". This can only be done by intensifying production and reducing waste in a sustainable manner as the area of land for production is not increasing. There is a growing demand for safe, nutritious, high quality, produce. Satisfying this from domestic sources will lead to reductions in the environmental impact of food miles and increase in local employment. Environmental land management schemes such as LEAF, ELS and HLS rely on sustainable intensification and maintenance of biodiversity.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Description 1. Collect and analyse volatiles from host plants of SWD and identify compounds likely to be involved in attraction of SWD.
Volatiles were collected from ripening commercial crops attacked by SWD, i.e. cherries, strawberry, raspberry, plum, and from a wild host, blackberry. Collections were analysed by gas chromatography (GC) coupled to mass spectrometry (MS) to identify compounds present and their relative amounts. Collections were also analysed by GC coupled to electroantennographic (EAG) recording from receptors on the antennae of both SWD and Drosophila melanogaster to determine which compounds stimulate the receptors and are thus potential attractants, or indeed repellents. Over 68 compounds were identified as candidate attractants. Most of these were commercially available, but it was necessary to synthesise some at NRI.
2. Develop attractant blend in laboratory and field trials
The compounds identified in Objective 1 were refined to four blends of 6-8 compounds each. Controlled-release dispensers were developed for these compounds suitable for use in traps in the field and release rates were measured under controlled conditions.
Two new laboratory bioassay systems for testing attraction of SWD to natural and synthetic odours in the laboratory were developed. In a two-choice olfactometer strong attraction of SWD to raspberry fruit and raspberry fruit juice was demonstrated. In a laboratory windtunnel a range of blends of synthetic compounds was tested and a blend of eight fruit volatiles was as attractive as a standard mixture of fermentation volatiles.
Nine field experiments were carried out. Individual compounds were not attractive, but a blend of eight compounds dispensed from dry dispensers captured significant numbers of SWD. This is the first time consistent attraction of SWD to host-plant volatiles rather than fermentation volatiles has been demonstrated.
3. Test effectiveness of mycopesticide Met 69 produced by the commercial partner against SWD and compatibility of this with the new attractants.
In a laboratory bioassay, conidia of Met69 caused significant mortality of SWD after 7 days exposure and over 80% were killed after 14 days. Under semi-field conditions, the viability of conidia of Met69 was reduced more quickly by fermentation baits than by the fruit volatile lure developed here.
Exploitation Route This was an Early-Stage Innovate Project. The work is being taken forward in Innovate Research Project 15737 "Auto-dissemination of entomopathogenic fungi for sustainable control of Spotted Wing Drosophila, an invasive pest threatening the prosperity of the UK horticulture industry" which involves Russell IPM and Berry Gardens as commercial partners and NIAB EMR and NRI as academic partners (November 2018-2021).
Elements of the project are also incorporated into:
AHDB Project SF145a on integrated management of SWD (2015-2020)
BBSRC CTP Studentship awarded to NIAB EMR and NRI (2017-2021)
BBSRC IPA project "Exploitation of interspecific oviposition signals to deter oviposition by for manipulation of spotted-wing drosophila" (2019-2022)
Sectors Agriculture, Food and Drink

 
Description Application for Innovate UK 051217 January 2018 (unsuccssful) and August 2018 (successful)
First Year Of Impact 2018
Sector Agriculture, Food and Drink
Impact Types Economic

 
Description BBSRC Responsive Mode Industrial Partnership Award
Amount £1,000,000 (GBP)
Funding ID BB/S005641/1 
Organisation Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 04/2019 
End 03/2021
 
Description Innovate UK Open Call September 2018
Amount £600,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 15737 
Organisation Innovate UK 
Sector Public
Country United Kingdom
Start 11/2018 
End 10/2021
 
Description Autodissemination of an entomopathogenic fungus for sustainable control of spotted wing drosophila, an invasive pest threatening the future of the UK horticulture industry 
Organisation Berry Gardens Growers Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Co-authored bid to Innovate UK 051217 and UK15737
Collaborator Contribution Co-authored bid to Innovate UK 051217 and UK15737
Impact Co-authored bid to Innovate UK 051217 December 2017. Unsuccessful but resubmitted in August 2018 and successful. Project 15737 started in November 2018 - October 2021. Project is multidisciplinary involving entomologists, chemists and two commercial companies involved in fruit production and production of plant proptection agents, respectively..
Start Year 2016
 
Description Autodissemination of an entomopathogenic fungus for sustainable control of spotted wing drosophila, an invasive pest threatening the future of the UK horticulture industry 
Organisation East Malling Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Co-authored bid to Innovate UK 051217 and UK15737
Collaborator Contribution Co-authored bid to Innovate UK 051217 and UK15737
Impact Co-authored bid to Innovate UK 051217 December 2017. Unsuccessful but resubmitted in August 2018 and successful. Project 15737 started in November 2018 - October 2021. Project is multidisciplinary involving entomologists, chemists and two commercial companies involved in fruit production and production of plant proptection agents, respectively..
Start Year 2016
 
Description Autodissemination of an entomopathogenic fungus for sustainable control of spotted wing drosophila, an invasive pest threatening the future of the UK horticulture industry 
Organisation Russell IPM (Integrated Pest Management)
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Co-authored bid to Innovate UK 051217 and UK15737
Collaborator Contribution Co-authored bid to Innovate UK 051217 and UK15737
Impact Co-authored bid to Innovate UK 051217 December 2017. Unsuccessful but resubmitted in August 2018 and successful. Project 15737 started in November 2018 - October 2021. Project is multidisciplinary involving entomologists, chemists and two commercial companies involved in fruit production and production of plant proptection agents, respectively..
Start Year 2016
 
Description Exploitation of interspecific signals to deter oviposition by spotted-wing drosophila 
Organisation Berry Gardens Growers Limited
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Assisted in preparation of successful bid to BBSRC IPA scheme August 2018. Project starts April 2019.
Collaborator Contribution Assisted in preparation of successful bid to BBSRC IPA scheme August 2018. Project starts April 2019.
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2018
 
Description Exploitation of interspecific signals to deter oviposition by spotted-wing drosophila 
Organisation East Malling Research
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Academic/University 
PI Contribution Assisted in preparation of successful bid to BBSRC IPA scheme August 2018. Project starts April 2019.
Collaborator Contribution Assisted in preparation of successful bid to BBSRC IPA scheme August 2018. Project starts April 2019.
Impact No outputs yet
Start Year 2018