Submitted to: Society for Invertebrate Pathology Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: July 5, 2001
Publication Date: July 30, 2001
Citation: Vega, F.E., Benavides, P., Stuart, J., Oneill, S.L., Kurtzman, C.P. 2001. Prospects for microbial control of the coffee berry borer.. Society for Invertebrate Pathology Meeting.
The coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei(Coleoptera: Scolytidae), is the most important insect pest of coffee throughout the world. Endemic to Central Africa, it has spread to most coffee growing regions. Adult females bore a hole in the coffee berry and deposit their eggs. Larvae feed on the endosperm lowering the quality of the berry and possibly causing abscission of the fruit. There is a 10:1 female to male sex ratio, and new adult females emerge from the berry inseminated, taking less than one day to enter another berry and start ovipositing. This life cycle makes the insect an extremely difficult candidate for integrated pest management programs. To elucidate the genetic diversity among coffee berry borers from around the world, we have conducted AFLP analysis on specimens from 15 countries. Results indicate that this species has very little genetic variability. However, DNA polymorphisms do exist and may distinguish among populations. We have isolated a yeast whose partial sequence of the nuclear large subunit (26S) ribosomal DNA revealed it to be Pichia burtonii. We are investigating the contribution of this yeast to the coffee berry borer's ability to use the coffee bean as a food source. This information will help us understand the biological mechanisms operating within the insect which allow the coffee berry borer to so successfully exploit coffee. Our final goal is to develop effective microbial biocontrol strategies against this insect.