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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research » Research » Research Project #434655

Research Project: Integrated Management of Cotton Boll Rot and its Insect Vectors

Location: Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research

Project Number: 3091-22000-035-14-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: May 15, 2018
End Date: May 14, 2019

Microorganisms that cause cotton boll disease and are transmitted by piercing-sucking cotton pests will be identified along with genes involved in pathogenicity resulting in development of a cotton boll disease detection kit.

This project will generate critical information on risk assessment that can be used immediately for evaluating insect monitoring needs for pathogen transmission as related to insect-vectored cotton boll disease. Work under this project will provide the foundation for subsequent efforts to develop a sensitive, economical, and rapid probe that can be used to directly detect cotton pathogens in insects that act as vectors (i.e., a field-friendly disease diagnostic kit). Technology to quickly determine if field collected sucking bugs carry a boll rotting pathogen, and evaluation of disease transmision risk, will allow producers to make judicious decisions on insecticide applications based on insects carrying pathogens and not just on total insects. Timely monitoring of actual disease transmission and boll infection can lead to adjusting action thresholds upward for the insects (less risk of damage when "pathogen-free" insects are present). As a consequence, insecticide use may be lowered along with associated costs. Alternatively, if disease risk is high, insecticide use may be temporarily increased until the threat reduces. In addition, pathogen reservoir management can be targeted (e.g., mowing or eliminating vegetation near fields) that are shown to be pathogen reservoirs.