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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: Foreign Exploration and Evaluation of Biological Control Agents for Thistles and Tumbleweed

Location: Exotic and Invasive Weeds Research

Project Number: 2030-22000-025-06-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2010
End Date: Sep 30, 2014

The objective of this cooperative research project is to discover prospective biological control agents of yellow starthistle, Scotch thistle, Russian thistle (tumbleweed), and other weeds of mutual interest in Europe, Asia, and Africa, and conduct experiments to evaluate the host plant specificity and potential efficacy of the more promising species.

Explorations will be conducted at different seasons to regions where the target plants are known to occur to collect arthropods and pathogens likely to be host-specific. Specimens will be identified by qualified taxonomists, and phylogenetic analysis of DNA will be done when appropriate. Prospective agents will be evaluated using host specificity experiments to determine if they feed, oviposit, or develop on representative nontarget plants that are likely to be at risk of attack. Further tests under laboratory or field conditions will be conducted when appropriate. Populations of promising agents will be sent to quarantine laboratories in the U.S. to conduct further tests on the most promising agents.

Last Modified: 05/26/2017
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