Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Researchers Show Improved Appeal of Sterile Flies That Save Valued Food Crops

28.02.2014

Irradiated, sterile flies dropped over seaports and agricultural areas to mate with unsuspecting females save food crops and millions of dollars in prevented infestations and the ensuing eradication efforts.

But blasting these secret-suitor insects with radiation via electron beams, X-rays or gamma-rays, tends to make them weaker than typical males — and not so appealing to females as possible mates.


UF/IFAS photo by Marisol Amador

University of Florida insect physiologist Daniel Hahn displays the type of flies used to protect valued crops, in what is known as the sterile insect technique.

What sterile-insect operations need, says University of Florida insect physiologist Daniel Hahn, is the insect world’s version of George Clooney: 52 years old, gray-haired and still dazzling the ladies. Hahn, an associate professor with UF’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, and his former postdoctoral associate, Giancarlo López-Martínez, now an assistant professor at New Mexico State University, describe in research publications this month and last, that sterilizing insects in a low-oxygen environment helps create suitors who more closely resemble the suave Clooney than do those sterilized in a normal-oxygen environment.

“Our males (insects) are not only more sexually competitive, they are maintaining their sexual competitiveness and their virility, into old age,” Hahn said, “and that has the potential to make them much better biological control agents.”

... more about:
»Agricultural »Economic »Food »SIT »fly »insect »sterile

The sterile insect technique, or SIT, has been used for decades and is considered a much preferable alternative to spraying pesticides over urban or suburban areas near major ports. In this biological control method, large numbers of sterile, male insects are released to compete with wild males for the attention of invasive wild females.

A female duped into accepting a sterile male would then find herself without offspring, thus trimming the population and its threat to the state’s important agricultural crops. The technique has been used effectively against the Mediterranean fruit fly, called the Medfly, and the cattle-infesting screw-worm fly, among others.

Florida spends roughly $6 million a year using SIT to prevent Mediterranean fruit fly infestations, while California spends about $17 million a year. Because of the inherent dangers in importing even one Mediterranean fruit fly into the state, in their recent studies, López-Martínez and Hahn investigated the physiological effects of applying low-oxygen treatments prior to and during irradiation sterilization on two other plant pests: the Caribbean fruit fly and the invasive cactus moth.

The “low-oxygen effect” has been known for decades, but the physiological basis for it had never been rigorously tested or analyzed, Hahn said. They suspected, and found, that under the low-oxygen conditions, the insects’ cells would produce antioxidants that can help better protect them from the off-target radiation damage.

Some operations that rear and sterilize insects, such as one in Guatemala that produces many of the sterile medflies dropped over Florida’s major ports roughly every seven days, do employ low-oxygen conditions, called hypoxia or anoxia. But many others don’t, he said, including those who rear and sterilize the cactus moth.

The reseachers found using a low-oxygen environment during sterilization boosted the sterile males’ longevity as well as their ability to attract and successfully mate. They found that the positive effects of low-oxygen treatments even extended into their ‘old age’ – in the insects’ case, about 30 days under cushy laboratory conditions.

Treatments that both improve the sexual performance of sterile males and maintain high performance longer in older males can substantially increase the effectiveness and decrease the economic costs of SIT programs, Hahn said.

The January paper was published by PLoS One, and the February paper in the Journal of Economic Entomology. Hahn and López-Martínez were joined as authors of that paper by James Carpenter of the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service in Tifton, Ga., and Stephen Hight of the USDA-ARS at Florida A&M University in Tallahassee.

Mickie Anderson | newswise
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu

Further reports about: Agricultural Economic Food SIT fly insect sterile

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Climate change: Trade liberalization could buffer economic losses in agriculture
25.08.2016 | Potsdam-Institut für Klimafolgenforschung

nachricht Fungal intruder ante portas!
19.08.2016 | Leibniz-Institut für Pflanzengenetik und Kulturpflanzenforschung

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: Streamlining accelerated computing for industry

PyFR code combines high accuracy with flexibility to resolve unsteady turbulence problems

Scientists and engineers striving to create the next machine-age marvel--whether it be a more aerodynamic rocket, a faster race car, or a higher-efficiency jet...

Im Focus: X-ray optics on a chip

Waveguides are widely used for filtering, confining, guiding, coupling or splitting beams of visible light. However, creating waveguides that could do the same for X-rays has posed tremendous challenges in fabrication, so they are still only in an early stage of development.

In the latest issue of Acta Crystallographica Section A: Foundations and Advances , Sarah Hoffmann-Urlaub and Tim Salditt report the fabrication and testing of...

Im Focus: Piggyback battery for microchips: TU Graz researchers develop new battery concept

Electrochemists at TU Graz have managed to use monocrystalline semiconductor silicon as an active storage electrode in lithium batteries. This enables an integrated power supply to be made for microchips with a rechargeable battery.

Small electrical gadgets, such as mobile phones, tablets or notebooks, are indispensable accompaniments of everyday life. Integrated circuits in the interiors...

Im Focus: UCI physicists confirm possible discovery of fifth force of nature

Light particle could be key to understanding dark matter in universe

Recent findings indicating the possible discovery of a previously unknown subatomic particle may be evidence of a fifth fundamental force of nature, according...

Im Focus: Wi-fi from lasers

White light from lasers demonstrates data speeds of up to 2 GB/s

A nanocrystalline material that rapidly makes white light out of blue light has been developed by KAUST researchers.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The energy transition is not possible without Geotechnics

25.08.2016 | Event News

New Ideas for the Shipping Industry

24.08.2016 | Event News

A week of excellence: 22 of the world’s best computer scientists and mathematicians in Heidelberg

12.08.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Designing ultrasound tools with Lego-like proteins

26.08.2016 | Life Sciences

Allergy Research: Response to House Dust Mites is Age-Dependent

26.08.2016 | Life Sciences

Spherical tokamak as model for next steps in fusion energy

25.08.2016 | Power and Electrical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>