Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Computer vision is used for boosting pest control efficacy via sterile insect technique

24.02.2020

By means of an imaging analysis system made available by FAPESP, a Brazilian research group succeeds at facilitating the selection of sterilized male specimens reared to combat a South American fruit fly known as pest of apple and peach orchards

One of the strategies used for biological control of the South American fruit fly Anastrepha fraterculus is sterilization of males by X-ray or gamma-ray irradiation. The aim of the procedure is to bring about a decrease in the wild population of these insects.


Picture of VideometerLab equipment performing reflectance imaging analysis on pupae of Anastrepha fraterculus

Credit: LRA /CENA-USP

A. fraterculus is a major crop pest in the South Region of Brazil, mainly affecting apple and peach orchards.

Sterilization is considered an affordable alternative to the use of insecticides and toxic bait. Before irradiation, the pupae - the immature form between larvae and adults - are submitted to a quality control process to identify and discard dead and low-quality insects.

The problem is that this inspection is performed manually and is based on morpho-physiological analysis, but it is difficult to distinguish empty or dead pupae from healthy pupae with the naked eye. Color differences, for example, are subtle and may go unnoticed.

"The problem can impair the efficiency of biological control because low-quality pupae don't develop into sterile flies," said Clíssia Barboza da Silva, an agronomist affiliated with the University of São Paulo's Center for Nuclear Energy in Agriculture (CENA-USP) in Piracicaba. "The margin of error in manual inspection is about 10%", she added.

Barboza da Silva has been working on a way to optimize the process based on a secure and precise method of pupa analysis in the context of mass production. She and her team use VideometerLab, a multispectral imaging instrument developed by a Danish company, to analyze pupae. Multispectral images capture light from an object over a range of wavelengths across the electromagnetic spectrum. The technique accurately identifies alterations in sample quality.

Purchased for approximately BRL 400,000 (now approximately USD 92,000) with funding from FAPESP's Multiuser Equipment Program, the VideometerLab is about the size of a single-serve coffee maker. It sits on the laboratory bench and is easy to operate. In this case, the researchers place the pupae in a Petri dish and analyze them in five seconds. Manual analysis takes hours.

"Thanks to its multispectral camera, the device provides several kinds of data at the same time - physiological, sanitary and genetic, for example, in addition to data on chemical composition," Barboza da Silva said. The device has 19 LED strobe lights, each of which emits a different wavelength from infrared to ultraviolet. The main analytical technique is reflectance imaging. Reflectance is measured by shining light on a sample and calculating the ratio of reflected to incident light.

Images of pupae produced by VideometerLab show different color patterns. The bluer the image, the greater the reflectance and the higher the quality of the sample. According to Barboza da Silva, phenotypical traits such as color and weight are used to detect dead or empty pupae in the conventional inspection procedure.

"The problem is that to the naked eye, empty pupae are almost the same color as high-quality pupae", she said.

Barboza da Silva is co-author of an article published in the Journal of Applied Entomology, which presents the positive results of the use of multispectral imaging to control the quality of A. fraterculus pupae.

In addition to providing a complete analysis of various physical and biochemical properties of the pupae, the device also functions as a computer vision system, a type of artificial intelligence that extracts data from images by simulating human vision.

"It generates data and graphics that help monitor pupa quality over time," Barboza da Silva said, adding that since last year, the technology has been used to control the quality of sterile insects sent to supply producers in Vacaria, Rio Grande do Sul, in the far south of Brazil.

The Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (EMBRAPA) has a temperate fruit experiment station in Vacaria and is partnering with CENA-USP in the Moscasul project, launched in 2013 with the Brazilian Apple Growers Association (ABPM).

"A biofactory is being set up in Vacaria, but CENA-USP is producing the sterile fruit flies until an irradiator is acquired to sterilize the pupae," said Thiago de Araújo Mastrangelo, an agronomic engineer and researcher at CENA-USP. The pupae irradiated there are flown to Vacaria in foam boxes chilled to 15 °C about three days before the adult flies emerge.

At EMBRAPA Vacaria, the pupae are placed in larger boxes with access to water and food (usually sugar or honey). Days later, following adult emergence, the sterile males are released into orchards, where they mate with wild females. If the sterile males vastly outnumber the fertile wild males, the wild fly population quickly dies out. The pilot biofactory at CENA-USP currently produces 150,000-200,000 insects per week.

According to Mastrangelo, without sterilization or any other control method, the economic impact of the pest could reach 40% of the income from production. "The fly multiplies in areas of native vegetation and then invades nearby crops, such as orange groves in São Paulo [Southeast Brazil] or apple farms in the South."

To date, there is no evidence that biological control of A. fraterculus has had adverse ecological or environmental impacts of any kind in the region, Mastrangelo added. "Recent studies conducted in Mexico show that no harm is done to the food chain of which this insect is part. In tropical environments, even if the species were to become locally extinct, others could take over its ecological niche," he said.

Barboza da Silva noted that potential applications of the VideometerLab extend well beyond insect pupa quality control. "It's being used worldwide in several fields, including medicine, pharmacology, and new materials. Ours was acquired as multiuser equipment, so we want other researchers in Brazil to start using it too," she said.

Barboza da Silva took a training course in Denmark in 2018 to learn how to operate the device now installed at CENA-USP. This is the only unit currently available in Brazil. She and her team also use it to analyze tomato, carrot, physic nut (Jatropha curcas) and peanut seeds in search of optical imaging patterns that characterize alterations in quality. The study is supported by FAPESP (São Paulo Research Foundation ).

"Conventional tests of seed quality are destructive. Moreover, as with pupae, the results are subjective because they depend on the analyst's training. They are also time-consuming and require a support structure. With the VideometerLab, which uses artificial intelligence, one can analyze the quality of a seed sample noninvasively, objectively and precisely, producing a detailed diagnosis of its physical, physiological, genetic and sanitary characteristics and saving time and money. That's a very significant advance," Barboza da Silva said.

###

About São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)

The São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP) is a public institution with the mission of supporting scientific research in all fields of knowledge by awarding scholarships, fellowships and grants to investigators linked with higher education and research institutions in the State of São Paulo, Brazil. FAPESP is aware that the very best research can only be done by working with the best researchers internationally. Therefore, it has established partnerships with funding agencies, higher education, private companies, and research organizations in other countries known for the quality of their research and has been encouraging scientists funded by its grants to further develop their international collaboration. You can learn more about FAPESP at http://www.fapesp.br/en and visit FAPESP news agency at http://www.agencia.fapesp.br/en to keep updated with the latest scientific breakthroughs FAPESP helps achieve through its many programs, awards and research centers. You may also subscribe to FAPESP news agency at http://agencia.fapesp.br/subscribe.

Media Contact

Joao Carlos Silva
jsilva@fapesp.br
55-113-838-4381

 @AgenciaFAPESP

http://www.fapesp.br 

Joao Carlos Silva | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://agencia.fapesp.br//32612/
http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jen.12716

Further reports about: FAPESP higher education insect pest control pupae quality control

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Soil-less sustainability: Novel agricultural crop production incorporating water reuse
02.04.2020 | ISOE - Institut für sozial-ökologische Forschung

nachricht Exeter researchers discover a novel chemistry to protect our crops from fungal disease
30.03.2020 | University of Exeter

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: Harnessing the rain for hydrovoltaics

Drops of water falling on or sliding over surfaces may leave behind traces of electrical charge, causing the drops to charge themselves. Scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Polymer Research (MPI-P) in Mainz have now begun a detailed investigation into this phenomenon that accompanies us in every-day life. They developed a method to quantify the charge generation and additionally created a theoretical model to aid understanding. According to the scientists, the observed effect could be a source of generated power and an important building block for understanding frictional electricity.

Water drops sliding over non-conducting surfaces can be found everywhere in our lives: From the dripping of a coffee machine, to a rinse in the shower, to an...

Im Focus: A sensational discovery: Traces of rainforests in West Antarctica

90 million-year-old forest soil provides unexpected evidence for exceptionally warm climate near the South Pole in the Cretaceous

An international team of researchers led by geoscientists from the Alfred Wegener Institute, Helmholtz Centre for Polar and Marine Research (AWI) have now...

Im Focus: Blocking the Iron Transport Could Stop Tuberculosis

The bacteria that cause tuberculosis need iron to survive. Researchers at the University of Zurich have now solved the first detailed structure of the transport protein responsible for the iron supply. When the iron transport into the bacteria is inhibited, the pathogen can no longer grow. This opens novel ways to develop targeted tuberculosis drugs.

One of the most devastating pathogens that lives inside human cells is Mycobacterium tuberculosis, the bacillus that causes tuberculosis. According to the...

Im Focus: Physicist from Hannover Develops New Photon Source for Tap-proof Communication

An international team with the participation of Prof. Dr. Michael Kues from the Cluster of Excellence PhoenixD at Leibniz University Hannover has developed a new method for generating quantum-entangled photons in a spectral range of light that was previously inaccessible. The discovery can make the encryption of satellite-based communications much more secure in the future.

A 15-member research team from the UK, Germany and Japan has developed a new method for generating and detecting quantum-entangled photons at a wavelength of...

Im Focus: Junior scientists at the University of Rostock invent a funnel for light

Together with their colleagues from the University of Würzburg, physicists from the group of Professor Alexander Szameit at the University of Rostock have devised a “funnel” for photons. Their discovery was recently published in the renowned journal Science and holds great promise for novel ultra-sensitive detectors as well as innovative applications in telecommunications and information processing.

The quantum-optical properties of light and its interaction with matter has fascinated the Rostock professor Alexander Szameit since College.

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

13th AKL – International Laser Technology Congress: May 4–6, 2022 in Aachen – Laser Technology Live already this year!

02.04.2020 | Event News

“4th Hybrid Materials and Structures 2020” takes place over the internet

26.03.2020 | Event News

Most significant international Learning Analytics conference will take place – fully online

23.03.2020 | Event News

 
Latest News

Capturing 3D microstructures in real time

03.04.2020 | Materials Sciences

First SARS-CoV-2 genomes in Austria openly available

03.04.2020 | Life Sciences

Do urban fish exhibit impaired sleep? Light pollution suppresses melatonin production in European perch

03.04.2020 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>