INIA will take the new technology to field in December

Peru: Entomopathogenic fungus would eradicate fruit fly

A new biological control technology developed by Peru's National Institute of Agrarian Innovation (INIA) to eradicate the plague of flies will be evaluated in the field in mid-December.

It is an entomopathogenic fungal strain, said Ricardo Velasquez Ochoa, engineer at the laboratory area of the Donoso Agricultural Experimental Station in Huaral (Lima).

The specialist said the investigation aims to combat and eradicate one of the fruits and vegetables' most important types of quarantine pest.

"The entomology lab has been developing, for some years, a research to combat the fruit fly, which, in Huaral, attacks mainly citrus and mangoes," he said.

"We've been collecting fungi under field conditions to use them as an alternative biological control against the pest, also aiming to reduce the use of chemicals designed to control the Ceratitis capitata or fruit fly," he said.

During the investigation, we isolated a fungus strain capable of controlling the fly. Then, to determine the prime factors for field use, the pathogen was mixed with a hydrolyzated protein, with molasses and only with a Beauveria treatment, said the specialist. He also indicated that the fungus was multiplied on a substrate of rice, which was inoculated and then used in a greenhouse.

Also, in the case of the fungus with molasses mixture, the product was infected and used as bait to attract fruit flies that, after five days of ingesting the mixture, were infected and died, he explained.

The investigation is still at the laboratory research level. "The trials are being done in laboratory conditions. We are analyzing the molasses mixture with the fungus in different doses and testing whether this fungus can also infect the larvae, "he added.

He said that the trials "are being carried out in greenhouses to prevent the flies from escaping".

He asserted that they would seek for a methodology of applying the fungus only under field conditions.

In this regard, he said that the new technology will have to help keep the fungus alive as long as possible. "They are doing a trial to see how long the fungus' characteristics will last under field conditions because sunbeams stops the fungus' development," he observed.

"We have prepared a trap with a pheromone which protects the fungus so that the flies will be contaminated and they will help spread the same fungus," he added.

"We want to take our research into field conditions in mid-December, especially for citrus, using strict protocols that ensure the plague can spread," he announced, adding that the results of the fieldwork will be ready by mid-2014.


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