1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Evaluate virus infection as potential biological control agents against leafhoppers and psyllids, Homalodisca vitripennis and Diaphorina citri.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Infect leafhoppers and psyllids, by feeding or injections and monitor survival, female fecundity, and virus titers using PCR methods.
3. Progress Report:
This research relates to inhouse project objective 2: Biological Control: Develop new and improve existing biological control methods for psyllids and sharpshooter species. 2a. Virus propagation in insect cell cultures. The main road block to using natural pathogens for insect pest management is the ability to mass produce them in a cost efficient manner. Thus, leafhopper cell cultures were used to evaluate costs associated with successful propagation of wild-type leafhopper-infecting viruses. The methods of virus production tested are still not efficient enough to compete with synthetic pesticides, however, production levels were sufficient for expanding experimental trials towards using these viruses as delivery systems to suppress insect pests.