1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
Discover and characterize microbial and viral pathogens of weevils, Diaprepes abbreviatus, aphids, Toxoptera citricidus, psyllids, Diaphorina citri, of fruit crops, for potential use as biological control agents.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
Evaluate field collected insects, their DNA, and RNA, as collected from fruit crops worldwide. Process DNA, RNA extractions, using PCR analyses to detect microbes and virus. Incorporate visual observations via electron microscopic examination of insects extracts to identify microbe and virus morphology.
3. Progress Report:
This research relates to inhouse project objective 2: Biological Control: Develop new and improve existing biological control methods for psyllid and sharpshooter species. 2a. Establish natural enemies of Asian citrus psyllid in Florida. The commercially available entomopathogenic fungus Isaria fumosorosea was shown to have good activity against psyllids and leafhoppers when used as a foliar spray. Examination of an Autodissemination system which was developed was also evaluated with good results. Use of naturally occurring pathogens such as Isaria, provide growers another management tool which is also friendly to other biological control agents, such as parasitoids. Results were submitted for publication.