Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

UF/IFAS Scientists Find Potential Biological Control for Avocado-Ravaging Disease

04.12.2014

University of Florida scientists believe they’ve found what could be the first biological control strategy against laurel wilt, a disease that threatens the state’s $54 million-a-year avocado industry.

Red ambrosia beetles bore holes into healthy avocado trees, bringing with them the pathogen that causes laurel wilt. Growers control the beetles that carry and spread laurel wilt by spraying insecticides on the trees, said Daniel Carrillo, an entomology research assistant professor at the Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead.


Credit: Lyle Buss, UF/IFAS

University of Florida scientists think they’ve found the first potential biological control strategy against laurel wilt, a disease that threatens Florida’s avocado industry. The redbay ambrosia beetle, see here, bores holes into avocado trees, bringing the disease that causes laurel wilt.

But a team of researchers from the Tropical REC and the Indian River Research and Education Center in Fort Pierce have identified a potential biological control to use against redbay ambrosia beetles that could help growers use less insecticide.

First, they exposed beetles to three commercially available fungi, and all of the beetles died. Then they sprayed the fungi on avocado tree trunks, and beetles got infected while boring into the trunk. About 75 percent of those beetles died, said Carrillo, an Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences faculty member.

Ideally, the fungal treatments could prevent beetles from boring into the trees, eliminating the risk that the pathogen would enter the trees, the study said. But tests showed female beetles bored into the trees and built tunnels regardless of the treatment. Still, researchers say their treatment can prevent the female beetles from laying eggs.

UF/IFAS scientists don’t know yet how much less chemical spray will be needed to control the redbay ambrosia beetle. But Carrillo sees this study as the first step toward controlling the beetle in a sustainable way.

“When you want to manage a pest, you want an integrated pest management approach,” Carrillo said. “This provides an alternative that we would use in combination with chemical control.”

The redbay ambrosia beetle -- native to India, Japan, Myanmar and Taiwan -- was first detected in 2002 in southeast Georgia. It was presumably introduced in wood crates and pallets, and its rapid spread has killed 6,000 avocado trees in Florida, or about 1 percent of the 655,000 commercial trees in Florida. The beetle was first discovered in South Florida in 2010.

Most American-grown avocados come from California, with the rest coming from Florida and Hawaii. The domestic avocado market is worth $429 million, according to Edward Evans, a UF associate professor of food and resource economics, also at the Tropical REC. Florida’s avocados are valued at about $23 million, or about 5 percent of the national market.

The redbay ambrosia beetle is not an issue with California avocados, so the new tactic found by Florida scientists wouldn’t apply to this pest in the Golden State, said Mark Hoddle, a biological control Extension specialist with the University of California-Riverside. Hoddle studies biological pest control for California avocados. Scientists there are exploring ways to control a different ambrosia beetle, he said, and bug-killing fungi may be useful for the new California pest.

More than 95 percent of Florida’s commercial avocados grow in Miami-Dade County, although many Floridians have avocado trees in their yard.

The redbay ambrosia beetle feeds and reproduces on a very wide variety of host plants, native oaks, sycamores, and of course it is very detrimental to avocados.

The study, which also involved scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Crop Bioprotection Research Unit in Peoria, Ill., was published online Nov. 30 in the journal Biological Control.

By Brad Buck, 352-294-3303, bradbuck@ufl.edu
Source: Daniel Carrillo, 305-246-7001, ext. 231, dancar@ufl.edu

Brad Buck | newswise
Further information:
http://www.ufl.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Cascading use is also beneficial for wood
11.12.2017 | Technische Universität München

nachricht The future of crop engineering
08.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie

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: First-of-its-kind chemical oscillator offers new level of molecular control

DNA molecules that follow specific instructions could offer more precise molecular control of synthetic chemical systems, a discovery that opens the door for engineers to create molecular machines with new and complex behaviors.

Researchers have created chemical amplifiers and a chemical oscillator using a systematic method that has the potential to embed sophisticated circuit...

Im Focus: Long-lived storage of a photonic qubit for worldwide teleportation

MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.

Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...

Im Focus: Electromagnetic water cloak eliminates drag and wake

Detailed calculations show water cloaks are feasible with today's technology

Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...

Im Focus: Scientists channel graphene to understand filtration and ion transport into cells

Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.

To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...

Im Focus: Towards data storage at the single molecule level

The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.

Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

AKL’18: The opportunities and challenges of digitalization in the laser industry

07.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Engineers program tiny robots to move, think like insects

15.12.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

One in 5 materials chemistry papers may be wrong, study suggests

15.12.2017 | Materials Sciences

New antbird species discovered in Peru by LSU ornithologists

15.12.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>