Industry representative: Harriet Duncalfe, Oliver Doubleday
AHDB Horticulture Cost: £70,500
Summary: This project will test and identify different species and strains of yeasts as feeding attractants to Drosophila suzukii, a major pest of soft- and stone-fruit crops, with the aim of using these in attract and kill baits for control in early and late season fruit production. In 2014 fruit picking in some crops had to cease as the pest became too abundant. Following this, control has largely focused on the repeated use of plant protection products. Our aim will be to reduce reservoirs of overwintering adult flies before and after the main cropping period, reducing subsequent damage and encouraging a whole year and integrated approach to pest control.
The project is underpinned by research at the University of Lincoln who have identified yeast attractant strains to other Drosophila species and NIAB EMR who are identifying microorganism in the alimentary canal of wild UK populations of overwintering D. suzukii and testing commercially available baits, which to date are not showing a strong attraction in comparison to fruit.
The project will be a novel and exciting new collaboration between the University of Lincoln and NIAB EMR. The student will gain skills in crop husbandry, insect microbe associations, microbiological techniques, ecology, pest management, and data analyses and interpretation.
Aim: To investigate attraction of a range of yeast strains for attraction and/or repulsion to Drosophila suzukii feeding and formulate blend for field testing for future use as baits in attract and kill strategies for crop protection.
1. Characterise the yeast community on ripening fruits (blueberry, strawberry, raspberry, cherry) and cherry leaf extra-floral nectaries
2. Using isolates of UK yeast strains, test for the attraction to D. suzukii (laboratory choice testing using UK strains of D. suzukii)
3. Determine and test the blends of yeasts which are most attractive and whether these need to be active or latent
4. Determine the most appropriate time of year to use the baits for greatest efficacy (field testing when D. suzukii is most attracted and whether baits can compete with ripening fruits)