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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory » Research » Research Project #433571

Research Project: Bt Toxin-based Strategies for Management of Diaphorina citri and Citrus Greening

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-22000-315-006-R
Project Type: Reimbursable Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Feb 1, 2017
End Date: Jul 31, 2021

The objective of this project is to develop Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) based control methods for the Asian citrus psyllid (ACP). Selected Bt spore-crystal preparations will be tested for toxicity the psyllids, and toxins identified from those preparations with activity. Delivery methods for active toxins will be developed based on the Citrus Tristeza virus. The use of such toxins would reduce the need for repeated insecticide applications now needed to control the psyllid, and would reduce the transmission of the bacterial agent responsible for huanglongbing disease.

Sixty strains of Bacillus thuringiensis will be screened for toxicity against ACP. Total crystal proteins from these strains will be purified activated using bovine trypsin and tested for ACP toxicity. Individual Cry toxins from ACP-toxic Bt strains will be purified to homogeneity by ion-exchange and gel filtration column chromatography. These individual toxins will then be tested for ACP toxicity and identified by MALDI-TOF MS/MS. ARS contributes preparations of Bt strains for characterization, Iowa State prepares toxins for testing and identifies toxins, collaborators at University of California test toxicity to ACP, and Collaborators at the University of Florida develop delivery methods.