Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory2012 Annual Report
1a. Objectives (from AD-416):
This project is aimed at identifying possible alternate hosts for the coffee berry borer in its area of origin, focusing on the Rubiaceae collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew (RGB Kew), United Kingdom. The objective is to determine whether efforts aimed at finding previously unreported biological control agents should be re-directed towards these areas where the coffee berry borer feeds on other members of the Rubiaceae.
1b. Approach (from AD-416):
ARS and Cooperator will gain new knowledge on alternate host plants of the coffee berry borer and consequently, on where to focus a search for previously unreported biological control agents. A large electronic database compiled and developed by RBG Kew for all known collections of wild Coffea, and linked to a geographic information system (GIS), will be used to assist a targeted survey of the RBG Kew Herbarium. The Rubiaceae collection held at RBG Kew, which includes wild coffee, is the largest and most thoroughly curated in the world. The entire Coffeeae tribe within the Rubiaceae will be examined for the presence and activity of coffee berry borer. In addition, Cooperator will survey Coffeeae collections at the Museum of Natural History (Paris), The National Botanic Gardens of Belgium, and the National Herbarium of the Netherlands. The Cooperator is one of the world leading experts on Rubiaceae, the leading authority on wild coffee species, and has strong ties with scientists at the three herbaria listed above. The information gathered in this project will be used by both parties to jointly determine where to focus foreign explorations for biological control agents of the coffee berry borer.
3. Progress Report:
This project is aimed at identifying possible alternate hosts for the coffee berry borer in its area of origin, focusing on the Rubiaceae collection at the Royal Botanic Gardens (RBG) in Kew. The entire Coffea collection at RBG Kew, some 2,500 specimens, has been surveyed for the presence of coffee berry borer (CBB) beetles and larvae. Possible infestation by CBB has been found in specimens originating from West and Central Africa, and so far CBB presence (beetles or larvae) has been confirmed in two species, viz C. canephora and C. arabica. Other species with possible attack (e.g., C. canephora, C. liberica, C. stenophylla and C. eugenioides) require more detailed taxonomic confirmation. Native Coffea species (including those formerly included in the genus Psilanthus) in East and South Africa, Madagascar, Indian Ocean Islands, Asia and Australasia show little or no indication of CBB infestation. This includes species that are close to potential sources of CBB, that is, plantations of C. arabica and C. canephora. Based on previous reports, the most likely Rubiaceae genus to host CBB, other than Coffea, is Oxyanthus. The RBG Kew collections of this genus (c. 400 specimens) have been surveyed but no CBB has been discovered.