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 project is related to Objective 2b: Biological Control: Identify new viral pathogens of psyllids, sharpshooters, and pest species, and evaluate the potential of these as management strategies. An insect-infecting fungal pathogen was successfully shown to infect and reduce psyllid feeding on citrus, and leafhopper feeding on grapevines. Dispersal systems for field application in citrus were examined. Entomopathogenic fungi was shown to be specific to aphids without increasing parasitoid mortality, thus may be an effective additional biological control agent for use in integrated pest management programs currently being used in citrus and viticulture industries. Progress was monitored through phone and email monthly contacts.