Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Study Reveals More About Biology of Energy Crop Insect

26.11.2010
Scientists are learning more about the life stages and biology of an insect that may compete with humans for the energy crops of the future — the insect some scientists are calling the switchgrass moth.

In an article in the Oct. 25, 2010, issue of the journal Zootaxa, researchers for the first time described the immature stages of the insect species Blastobasis repartella (Dietz), first described by in scant detail from two male specimens of the adult moth collected in Denver, Colo., in 1910.

The article re-describes the adult insect far more closely and discusses some aspects of its biology in relation to its host plant, switchgrass. Blastobasis repartella bores into the stems of switchgrass at some periods of its life cycle.

The insect has only recently come to the attention of science once more because researchers are only now thinking of biomass from native grasses such as switchgrass as a possible feedstock for producing cellulosic ethanol, a next-generation biofuel. That means researchers are interested for the first time in insects that feed on native grasses such as switchgrass.

Already in May 2004 at the Dakota Lakes Research Farm, professor Arvid Boe, a forage and biomass grass breeder, and postdoctoral research associate DoKyoung Lee estimated that up to 40 percent of new tillers of a few scattered plants of switchgrass was lost to the caterpillar. However, many other plants were unaffected, so the average was estimated to be less than 10 percent.

Johnson, the curator of SDSU’s Severin-McDaniel Insect Research Collection, collected adult moths using simple emergence traps in 2008, and estimated population densities. SDSU scientists first suspected the stem-borer might be a new species. But David Adamski, a research associate with the Department of Entomology at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., and a specialist in small moths, ultimately identified the insect.

The current study used insects collected from Brookings County, S.D., and Champaign County, Ill.

Adamski is the lead author of the journal article. Professors Paul Johnson and Arvid Boe, both of South Dakota State University, are co-authors, along with J.D. Bradshaw of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and Alan Pultyniewicz of Columbia, Md.

The journal article notes that while some Blastobasis species feed on various grasses, Blastobasis repartella “appears to be restricted to switchgrass.”

Johnson said if the need for new biofuels means farmers grow switchgrass as a biomass crop in the future, it’s very likely that switchgrass moth populations will increase along with the acres devoted to switchgrass. That means it is very likely that agricultural producers will want researchers to develop insect control regimens to limit damage to energy crops.

The journal article notes that larvae are presumably inactive during the coldest months but were found to be active in South Dakota when plants were brought into the greenhouse in early spring and forced into early growth. In the field, mature larvae are commonly found in late May actively feeding.

Pupae are found primarily during mid to late June within the plant stem. However, no viable pupae have been found in the field in early July in Illinois or by the third week of July in South Dakota.

Adults of Blastobasis repartella are nocturnal with a peak of activity during the early pre-sunrise hours. In eastern South Dakota, adult activity occurs from mid-July to mid-August, however, individuals are occasionally collected at evening lights during late August. Seasonal peak adult activity related to reproductive behavior was measured by the frequency of arriving males (40–50 males per night and occasionally exceeding 75 males per night) at cages containing calling females. The flight period at Savoy, Ill., appears to be two to three weeks earlier than in South Dakota.

There is no evidence to suggest the occurrence of a second generation or overlapping cohorts in either South Dakota or Illinois populations. This is consistent with the single per year growth of switchgrass and appears to correlate with geographic variations in growing season differences of switchgrass, Boe said.

One of Johnson’s webpages discusses SDSU’s work on biomass insects. Find it here: http://www.sdstate.edu/ps/Severin-McDaniel/biomass/index.cfm

Lance Nixon | Newswise Science News
Further information:
http://www.sdstate.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Individual Receptors Caught at Work
19.10.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Rapid environmental change makes species more vulnerable to extinction
19.10.2017 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Neutron star merger directly observed for the first time

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...

Im Focus: Breaking: the first light from two neutron stars merging

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....

Im Focus: Smart sensors for efficient processes

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...

Im Focus: Cold molecules on collision course

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...

Im Focus: Shrinking the proton again!

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...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

World Health Summit 2017: International experts set the course for the future of Global Health

10.10.2017 | Event News

Climate Engineering Conference 2017 Opens in Berlin

10.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Electrode materials from the microwave oven

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

New material for digital memories of the future

19.10.2017 | Materials Sciences

Physics boosts artificial intelligence methods

19.10.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>