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A biological control agent to control cabbage moth: 'The field trials'

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The BIOCOMES project brings together 27 partners developing 11 novel biological control products for pests and diseases.

One of these pests is cabbage moth. The following slides will explain more about cabbage moth and our activities to find a sustainable biocontrol product to counteract it.

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A biological control agent to control cabbage moth: 'The field trials'

  1. 1. www.biocomes.eu Cabbage moth The BIOCOMES project brings together 27 partners to develop eleven new biological control products for pests and diseases. The following slides will explain more about one of these pests – the cabbage moth – and our activities to find a sustainable biocontrol product to counteract it.
  2. 2. www.biocomes.eu The cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae) is among the most damaging pests that affect cabbage production. The insecticides most commonly applied against it today not only kill the pest itself, but also other insect species, including beneficial ones. We are therefore working on a biological control agent (BCA) which will be a new parasitoid- based product. photos: G. Barloggio & H. Luka
  3. 3. www.biocomes.eu Untreated cabbage plants (like the white cabbage pictured) are very susceptible to different pests. The cabbage moth is one of the pests that cause severe damage to untreated cabbage plants, leading to major economic losses. photo: G. Barloggio
  4. 4. www.biocomes.eu Natural enemies of cabbage moth can help control its population. This project focuses on suppression of the cabbage moth (Mamestra brassicae) by using the parasitoid Telenomus sp. as a biocontrol agent. Photo: G. Barloggio
  5. 5. www.biocomes.eu Telenomus sp. lays its eggs in the eggs of the cabbage moth. Developing Telenomus sp. embryos feed on the cabbage moth eggs, ultimately killing them. A single Telenomus sp. female can parasitise more than one hundred eggs, making this species a promising candidate for the control of the cabbage moth. Photo: G. Barloggio Cabbage moth eggs Cabbage moth eggs parasitised by Telenomus sp. Eggs after Telenomus sp. emergence
  6. 6. www.biocomes.eu During the first year of the BIOCOMES project, we collected information about the parasitoid Telenomus sp. and worked on the characterisation of its population structures, for which specific primers were developed. photos: G. Barloggio qPCR analysis machine DNA samples ready to be analysed
  7. 7. www.biocomes.eu We worked together with different scientists in Europe to investigate the distribution of the parasitoid. These EU partners collected parasitoid eggs in their regions and sent them to FiBL. We determined the insects at species level using the developed primers. Photo: F. Birch-Jensen photo: A. Renda
  8. 8. www.biocomes.eu After we gained information about the biology of the parasitoid, we spent the second year of the BIOCOMES project conducting the first field trial. This involved comparing the parasitation performance of Telenomus sp. under field conditions to standard plant protection measures… photo: G. Barloggio
  9. 9. www.biocomes.eu … and to untreated plots. photo: L. Forlin
  10. 10. www.biocomes.eu Parasitoids were released in the field using special field delivery systems that contained parasitised cabbage moth eggs. After a few days, parasitoids hatch directly in the field, where they can immediately start parasitising other cabbage moth eggs laid on nearby cabbage leaves. photo: G. Barloggio photo: L. Forlin field delivery systems, containing parasitised cabbage moth eggs field delivery systems, containing parasitised cabbage moth eggs
  11. 11. www.biocomes.eu Cabbage moth eggs were exposed in the field for two days to monitor the parasitoid performance (parasitation rate). Foto: G. Barloggiophoto: G. Barloggio
  12. 12. www.biocomes.eu To determine the parasitation rate, pictures of the exposed egg clutches were taken before and after exposition. photo: G. Barloggio Before After
  13. 13. www.biocomes.eu We also recorded the number of pest and beneficial insects twice during the cabbage growing season. Foto: G. Barloggio photo: H. Luka
  14. 14. www.biocomes.eu In addition, weather data was collected using small stations placed in each field in order to determine the influence of weather conditions on the parasitation rate. Foto: L. Forlin
  15. 15. www.biocomes.eu Selected cabbage plants in each treatment were harvested and their weight recorded. The field trials will be repeated in the upcoming year to gain a better overview of the effectiveness of the BCA. photos: G. Barloggio
  16. 16. This presentation gives a quick overview of the first tests in the development of a BCA for the cabbage moth. Visit our website to read more about our work on the cabbage moth and the other ten biological control products we are developing. www.biocomes.eu This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 612713

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