Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Invasive Papaya Pest Discovered in Asia

10.10.2008
Papaya is a multimillion dollar crop in Indonesia, India, countries in the Caribbean and South America, the Hawaiian Islands, and Florida. The first reported occurrences of papaya mealybug in Indonesia and Southeast Asia were in May and then in July. Scientists are using integrated pest management to contain the pest.

Thanks to efforts by scientists in a Virginia Tech-led program, the papaya mealybug — an emerging threat from India to Indonesia — is being identified and contained.

Attacks by the papaya mealybug are a serious threat. In Indonesia, India, countries in the Caribbean and South America, the Hawaiian Islands, and Florida, papaya means millions of dollars for farmers, middlemen, and processors. In West Java, the scourge has wiped out most of the papaya plantations.

In May, 2008, a team from the Integrated Pest Management Collaborative Research Support Program (IPM CRSP), managed by Virginia Tech’s Office of International Research, Education, and Development, identified papaya mealybug on papaya trees at the Bogor Botanical Gardens in West Java, Indonesia.

It was the first reported occurrence of papaya mealybug in Indonesia and Southeast Asia.

A specialist in mealybug taxonomy at the California Department of Agriculture confirmed the identification as papaya mealybug — an unarmored scale insect found in moist, warm climates.

Two months later, on a trip to Tamil Nadu Agricultural University in Coimbatore, India, Muni Muniappan, director of the IPM CRSP at Virginia Tech, recognized the telltale sticky residue on papayas he saw there as papaya mealybug.

In each case, IPM scientists alerted government authorities and advised them on appropriate actions to take. These discoveries are crucial; the sooner authorities can arrest the spread of the papaya mealybug, the better their chances of saving this lucrative tropical crop.

While papaya is an exotic fruit in the northern hemisphere, papain, a product of papaya, is used in a variety of ways every day, including the production of chewing gum, shampoo, and toothpaste and tooth whiteners; as a meat tenderizer; and in the brewing and textile industries. In many tropical countries, papaya is an important commercial crop and a key component of the daily diet.

The papaya mealybug originated in Mexico, where it developed alongside natural enemies and was first identified in 1992. It wasn’t until it jumped countries and started proliferating in places where it had no natural enemies that it began to pose problems. In 1995, it was discovered on the Caribbean island of St. Martin. By the year 2000, it had spread to 13 countries in the Caribbean, to Florida in the United States, and to three countries each in Central and South America.

The papaya mealybug is a particularly devastating pest because it is polyphagous—it feeds on many things. The insect’s host range includes more than 60 species of plants: cassava, papaya, beans, eggplant, melons, hisbiscus, plumeria, pepper, sweet potato, tomato, citrus, mango, and sour sop.

On papaya plants, the mealybug infests all parts of the young leaves and fruits, mostly along the veins and midrib of the older leaves. Young leaves become crinkly and older leaves turn yellow and dry up. Terminal shoots become bunchy and distorted. Affected trees drop flowers and fruits. To add insult to injury, the mealybug secretes a honeydew-like substance that turns into a thick sooty mold growth, making the fruit inedible and unusable for the production of papain.

The good news is that the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) has developed a biological control program to tackle the pest. Biological control is an integrated pest management tactic that pits natural enemies against pests. APHIS has identified three parasitoids including parasitic wasps that are highly effective at containing the mealybug. These natural enemies are being cultured in a laboratory in Puerto Rico and are offered free to countries that request them.

The IPM CRSP, funded by the U.S. Agency for International Development, is a consortium of integrated pest management scientists working to raise the standard of living in developing countries. The IPM CRSP team that traveled to Indonesia included Robert Hedlund, Cognizant Technical Officer for the USAID-funded program; Muniappan; Clemson University entomology Professors Merle Shepard and Gerry Carner; Clemson economics Professor Mike Hammig; Yulu Xia, assistant director of the NSF Center for IPM at North Carolina State; and Aunu Rauf, professor of entomology at Bogor Agricultural University in Indonesia.

While the challenge of reclaiming the papaya plantations from the papaya mealybug seems daunting, Muniappan is optimistic. “The use of parasitoids has been very effective in Caribbean and Latin American countries, and in Florida, Guam, and Palau,” he said. “But we need to be vigilant.”

Miriam Rich | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.vt.edu
http://www.oired.vt.edu/ipmcrsp

Further reports about: Agricultural Papaya Pest Pest crop papaya papaya mealybug papaya plantations

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Plasma-zapping process could yield trans fat-free soybean oil product
02.12.2016 | Purdue University

nachricht New findings about the deformed wing virus, a major factor in honey bee colony mortality
11.11.2016 | Veterinärmedizinische Universität Wien

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

Im Focus: How to inflate a hardened concrete shell with a weight of 80 t

At TU Wien, an alternative for resource intensive formwork for the construction of concrete domes was developed. It is now used in a test dome for the Austrian Federal Railways Infrastructure (ÖBB Infrastruktur).

Concrete shells are efficient structures, but not very resource efficient. The formwork for the construction of concrete domes alone requires a high amount of...

Im Focus: Bacterial Pac Man molecule snaps at sugar

Many pathogens use certain sugar compounds from their host to help conceal themselves against the immune system. Scientists at the University of Bonn have now, in cooperation with researchers at the University of York in the United Kingdom, analyzed the dynamics of a bacterial molecule that is involved in this process. They demonstrate that the protein grabs onto the sugar molecule with a Pac Man-like chewing motion and holds it until it can be used. Their results could help design therapeutics that could make the protein poorer at grabbing and holding and hence compromise the pathogen in the host. The study has now been published in “Biophysical Journal”.

The cells of the mouth, nose and intestinal mucosa produce large quantities of a chemical called sialic acid. Many bacteria possess a special transport system...

Im Focus: Newly proposed reference datasets improve weather satellite data quality

UMD, NOAA collaboration demonstrates suitability of in-orbit datasets for weather satellite calibration

"Traffic and weather, together on the hour!" blasts your local radio station, while your smartphone knows the weather halfway across the world. A network of...

Im Focus: Repairing defects in fiber-reinforced plastics more efficiently

Fiber-reinforced plastics (FRP) are frequently used in the aeronautic and automobile industry. However, the repair of workpieces made of these composite materials is often less profitable than exchanging the part. In order to increase the lifetime of FRP parts and to make them more eco-efficient, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) and the Apodius GmbH want to combine a new measuring device for fiber layer orientation with an innovative laser-based repair process.

Defects in FRP pieces may be production or operation-related. Whether or not repair is cost-effective depends on the geometry of the defective area, the tools...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

Nothing will happen without batteries making it happen!

05.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Multiregional brain on a chip

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

New technology enables 5-D imaging in live animals, humans

16.01.2017 | Information Technology

Researchers develop environmentally friendly soy air filter

16.01.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>