Submitted to: Plant Genetic Resources Newsletter
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: July 1, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Erosion of biodiversity in agriculture resulting from widespread cropping of high yielding, genetically uniform cultivars, coupled with the continuous and permanent loss of natural plant biodiversity, brought about by habitat and environmental degradation, has resulted in heightened international interest in preserving plant germplasm in repositories. Periodically, curators at repositories must establish field nurseries of germplasm accessions to replenish seed stocks low in viability and supply. There are, however, hazards associated with this method of seed regeneration, one of which includes exposure of nursery plants to insect pests that adversely affect plant health and seed production. This 11-year study by a USDA, ARS Research Entomologist outlines progress in the development and use of a multifaceted pest management program to protect nursery plants at the Western Regional Plant Introduction Station in Pullman, Washington from insect pests. This is the first report to outlin pest management methods and guidelines for repository curators worldwide. This report is also important because it demonstrates that pest control methods (cultural and biological controls) besides conventional insecticides have a place in repository pest management programs.
Technical Abstract: This paper reports on one genebank's efforts to protect nursery plants from insect damage and, in so doing, illustrates the types of insect pests and pest management challenges that managers of ex situ genebanks worldwide are likely to fact during seed regeneration. Heretofore, the general literature on ex situ genebank practices has not addressed pest management during seed regeneration. This 11-year study (1988-1998) at th USDA, ARS Western Regional Plant Introduction Station (WRPIS), Pullman, Washington, identified at least 14 actual and potential nursery insect pests in the orders Thysanoptera, Orthoptera, Hemiptera, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, and Diptera. These psets are categorized as key pests (regularly present and adversely affecting plant health and seed production), occasional pests (damaging populations occurring at infrequent intervals), and incidental pests (often present, but infrequently damaging). Although chemical control is the pest control method of choice at the WRPIS, cultural and biological controls have a place in the genebank's pest management program. Components of a successful pest management program for germplasm nurseries are listed.