Scientists from the Nairobi-headquartered icipe, African Insect Science for Food and Health, the Kenya Agricultural Research Institute (KARI) and the International Potato Centre (CIP), Peru, with funding from BMZ, Germany, have joined forces to control the invasive horticultural pests of the genus Liriomyza, in eastern Africa.
Leafminer flies, as these pests are commonly known, cause crop damage in their adult and larval stages. The females puncture the plant leaves and in some instances the fruits with their ovipositors. The flies mainly use these punctures for feeding, but 10% of the time, they lay eggs in them, which then develop into larvae. A heavy attack of leafminers leads to large-scale destruction of leaf tissue, shrivelling of the leaves and eventually, the complete defoliation of the entire plant. More importantly, the presence of leafminer larvae on export produce is of quarantine relevance in the European Union markets.
Liriomyza leafminers were restricted to the New World until the 1970s but have since then been spreading to other parts of the world. In eastern Africa, three polyphagous species, L. huidobrensis, L. sativae and L. trifoli, have been recorded on French and runner beans, snow and sugar snap peas, okra, aubergine, passion fruit and various species of cut flowers.
A significant area of concern is that in South America and Southeast Asia, L. huidobrensis has been known to attack and damage potato crops to crisis levels. Even though no attacks have been noted on this crop in eastern Africa, it is important to pre-empt such a possibility, which would be catastrophic as potatoes provide a fallback in bad maize years, preventing serious famines.
Overall, if not contained, the leafminer problem in East Africa would threaten the livelihoods of the region’s small-scale farmers, who produce 80% of vegetables for the local and export markets. Leafminers easily develop resistance to synthetic pesticides, thus necessitating the use of the newest plant protection materials, which are often out of the reach of such farmers. Synthetic chemicals also have an adverse effect on the natural enemies, which are important in controlling the leafminers. Moreover, while only L. huidobrensis is a listed quarantine pest in the EU, there is currently no practicable method for inspectors to distinguish between leafminer larvae on import produce. As a result, whole consignments are usually rejected when any leafminers are detected.
The work by icipe, KARI and CIP will build on the extensive studies on leafminers already done in the developed countries. Further, it will address existing research gaps towards environmentally-friendly, affordable and sustainable management of leaf miners in eastern Africa.
One of the priority areas will be to improve biocontrol of leafminers. The researchers will also look at other control techniques, which would be harmless to the natural enemies such as trap crops and biopesticides.
The technologies generated through this study will be of benefit to small, medium to large-scale farming units. In addition, national research and extension services, non-governmental organisations and the private sector enterprises could use the results for producing and marketing biopes.
Liz Nganga | alfa
Climate change, population growth may lead to open ocean aquaculture
05.10.2017 | Oregon State University
New machine evaluates soybean at harvest for quality
04.10.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences
University of Maryland researchers contribute to historic detection of gravitational waves and light created by event
On August 17, 2017, at 12:41:04 UTC, scientists made the first direct observation of a merger between two neutron stars--the dense, collapsed cores that remain...
Seven new papers describe the first-ever detection of light from a gravitational wave source. The event, caused by two neutron stars colliding and merging together, was dubbed GW170817 because it sent ripples through space-time that reached Earth on 2017 August 17. Around the world, hundreds of excited astronomers mobilized quickly and were able to observe the event using numerous telescopes, providing a wealth of new data.
Previous detections of gravitational waves have all involved the merger of two black holes, a feat that won the 2017 Nobel Prize in Physics earlier this month....
Material defects in end products can quickly result in failures in many areas of industry, and have a massive impact on the safe use of their products. This is why, in the field of quality assurance, intelligent, nondestructive sensor systems play a key role. They allow testing components and parts in a rapid and cost-efficient manner without destroying the actual product or changing its surface. Experts from the Fraunhofer IZFP in Saarbrücken will be presenting two exhibits at the Blechexpo in Stuttgart from 7–10 November 2017 that allow fast, reliable, and automated characterization of materials and detection of defects (Hall 5, Booth 5306).
When quality testing uses time-consuming destructive test methods, it can result in enormous costs due to damaging or destroying the products. And given that...
Using a new cooling technique MPQ scientists succeed at observing collisions in a dense beam of cold and slow dipolar molecules.
How do chemical reactions proceed at extremely low temperatures? The answer requires the investigation of molecular samples that are cold, dense, and slow at...
Scientists from the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, using high precision laser spectroscopy of atomic hydrogen, confirm the surprisingly small value of the proton radius determined from muonic hydrogen.
It was one of the breakthroughs of the year 2010: Laser spectroscopy of muonic hydrogen resulted in a value for the proton charge radius that was significantly...
17.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
10.10.2017 | Event News
20.10.2017 | Information Technology
20.10.2017 | Materials Sciences
20.10.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research