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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Kearneysville, West Virginia » Appalachian Fruit Research Laboratory » Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection » Research » Research Project #436410

Research Project: Integrated Production and Automation Systems for Temperate Fruit Crops

Location: Innovative Fruit Production, Improvement, and Protection

2021 Annual Report

Objective 1: Develop improved monitoring and/or management strategies for invasive and persistent native pests in orchard, small fruit, and/or controlled environment agroecosystems. [NP305, C1, PS1B&1D] Sub-objective 1.A. Identify and/or understand the impact of specific biological stimuli on behavior and ecology of invasive and persistent native arthropod pests. Sub-objective 1.B. Utilize behavioral, ecological and biological knowledge of invasive and persistent native arthropod pests to develop improved monitoring and management tools, and technology. Objective 2: Analyze key whole tree and rootstock-scion interactions; and develop and integrate new plant phenotyping systems to assist in the evaluation of key traits in orchard agroecosystems. [NP305, C1, PS1B&1D] Sub-objective 2.A. Generate new knowledge of apple rootstock-scion interactions based on manipulation of the deep rooting 1 (DRO1) gene. Sub-objective 2.B. Develop new knowledge for potential variety releases and optimized production practices for novel ‘Supersweet’ nectarine selections. Sub-objective 2.C. Develop computer vision and/or robotic plant phenotyping systems for shape analysis for use by plant breeders, physiologists, and horticulturists. Objective 3: Develop improved horticultural practices to improve fruit quality, nutrient and water use efficiency, growth habits, harvest, and/or yield in orchard, small fruit, and/or controlled environment agroecosystems. [NP305, C1, PS1B&1D] Sub-objective 3.A. Develop new knowledge and use of shorter ultraviolet irradiation (~220 nm) on growth and development of strawberry plants. Sub-objective 3.B. Use knowledge of adventitious root initiation and subsequent shoot growth on Rubus species to develop improved management tools and technologies for production of primocane-fruiting blackberry and their reproductive development. Sub-objective 3.C. Understand the impact of catching surface design on mechanical blueberry harvester on fruit quality and develop improved fruit catching design. Sub-objective 3.D. Create methods to compute tree architecture and apply pruning protocols to fruit tree models. Objective 4: Develop new alternative management systems for pests and diseases in orchard, small fruit, and controlled environment agroecosystems that control pests and diseases during production and after harvest. [NP305, C1, PS1B&1D] Sub-Objective 4.A. Control of strawberry diseases and arthropods using UV-C/dark period/antagonist treatment and its effect on organoleptic, chemical, and microbial quality of the fruit. Sub-Objective 4.B. Control of postharvest brown rot of stone fruits. Objective 5: Analyze rapid apple decline disease etiology and develop small scale or scale neutral technologies for managing tree fruit diseases to enhance the economic and ecological sustainability of small farm orchard production. [NP305, C1, PS1B] Objective 6: Generate new knowledge of soil-plant interactions on small farm orchards in new production areas and develop new tools and technologies for enhancing marginal soils with sustainable inputs. [NP305, C1, PS1B]

The goal of our multi-disciplinary project is to enable growers to increase both ecological sustainability and economic competitiveness in modern fruit production systems. Entomological, computer engineering, horticultural and post-harvest plant pathology disciplines, and expertise will be integrated within this project to accomplish proposed objectives and generate new knowledge, technology, and tools. Objective 1 will utilize laboratory, semi-field and field-based behavioral and chemical ecology techniques to study invasive and persistent native pests, and result in monitoring tools and management strategies for invasive and persistent native pests of orchard and small fruit agroecosystems including brown marmorated stink bug, spotted lanterfly, spotted wing drosophila, and apple maggot fly. Objective 2 will include greenhouse and field-based horticultural studies of ‘Supersweet’ nectarine selections and transgenic apple rootstock overexpressing deep rooting gene (DRO1), and development of a simple computer vision and/or robotic system for plant phenotyping. New knowledge generated will provide optimized production practices for ‘Supersweet’ nectarines, new knowledge of whole tree physiology and rootstock-scion interactions enabling growers to customize fruit tree orchards based on production region, and plant phenotyping technology enabling optimal identification of superior cultivars, clones, rootstocks, and rootstock/scion combinations for improved crop quality. Objective 3 will include greenhouse and field studies aimed at improving advanced machine harvesting technology for fresh market blueberry, alternative systems for the management of primocane-fruiting blackberries that can be used to improve and increase yield from late summer to early winter, and new knowledge on plant response to short wavelength light irradiation to enable earlier harvest times; and studies aimed at establishing orchard technology. Objective 4 will include studies of alternative methods for controlling pre- and post-harvest brown rot fruit decays with heat and GRAS materials, and of UV-C irradiation technology with specific dark period and microbial antagonists against pre- and post-harvest diseases and arthropod pests.

Progress Report
Over the past year for Objective 1, substantial progress on feeding ecology and host preferences of the invasive spotted lanternfly (SLF) has been made. It is apparent that SLF favors invasive trees of heaven but will feed on cultivated crops, including grape, apple, and peach, as well as native hardwoods such as black walnut. Additionally, studies of pheromone-based decision support tools for the invasive brown marmorated stink bug using mark-release-recapture experiments and on-farm trials with collaborating fruit growers continue to improve sustainable management tactics for this pest. For Objective 2, one non-transgenic control and two transgenic DRO1 lines of ‘M26’ apple (60 plants each line) were propagated in the tissue culture and transplanted in trays in the growth chamber. Materials to study the root architecture of these lines (aeroponics parts and imaging device) were acquired with assembly pending. Grafts of three high-sugar and three standard nectarine varieties on four different peach rootstocks were made in March 2021. These will be planted in early 2022 and used to evaluate supersweet traits and specialized production practices relative to standard varieties. An image-based plant shape system using an optimized camera network that is low in cost has been developed to assist with plant phenotyping. For Objective 3, substantial progress was made on the development of a web-based app that can quickly and accurately measure bruise damage in blueberries. This app will be a useful tool for blueberry packers and supply-chain handlers at the farm to retail markets for assessing the quality of machine-harvested blueberries. Progress was made in developing a device for increasing the amount of UV-C light from the array on the mobile platform to illuminate all parts of the plant with higher intensity. Improved light penetration of the bottom leaves will provide better control of two-spotted spider mites and fungal pathogens that have a preference for the underside of leaves with the USDA-developed non-chemical, ultraviolet technology. For Objective 4, work on alternative management systems, including integrating UV-C and antagonists and utilizing generally recognized as safe (GRAS) substances, has been initiated. Work on Objectives 5 and 6 will begin with the hiring of two new scientists.


Review Publications
Ludwick, D.C., Patterson, J., Leake, L.B., Carper Jr, G.L., Leskey, T.C. 2020. Integrating Trissolcus japonicus into management programs for Halyomorpha halys in apple orchards: impact of insecticide applications and spray patterns. Insects.
Quinn, N.F., Talamas, E.J., Leskey, T.C., Bergh, J. 2021. Seasonal captures of Trissolcus japonicus (Ashmead) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) and the effects of habitat type and tree species on detection frequency. Insects.
Ludwick, D.C., Leake, L.B., Morrison III, W.R., Lara, J.R., Hoddle, M.S., Thomas, E.J., Leskey, T.C. 2021. Influence of holding conditions and storage duration of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera:Pentatomidae) eggs on adventive and quarantine populations of Trissolcus japonicus (Hymenoptera:Scelionidae) behavior and parasitism success. Environmental Entomology. 50(3):550-560.
Kirkpatrick, D.M., Rice, K.B., Ibrahim, A., Fleischer, S.J., Tooker, J.F., Tabb, A., Medeiros, H., Morrison III, W.R., Leskey, T.C. 2020. The influence of marking methods on mobility, survivorship and field recovery of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) adults and nymphs. Environmental Entomology. 49(5):1026-1031.
Zhu, J., Teolis, S., Biassou, N., Tabb, A., Jabin, P., Lavi, O. 2020. Tracking the adaptation and compensation processes of patients' brain arterial network to an evolving glioblastoma. Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) on Pattern Analysis and Machine Intelligence (TPAMI).
Sargent, S.A., Takeda, F., Williamson, J.G., Berry, A.D. 2019. Harvest of southern highbush blueberry with a modified, over-the-row mechanical harvester: use of handheld shakers and soft catch surfaces. Agriculture.
Ni, X., Li, C., Jiang, H., Takeda, F. 2020. Deep learning image segmentation and extraction of blueberry fruit traits associated with harvestability and yield. Horticulture Research.
Leskey, T.C., Short, B.D., Ludwick, D.C. 2020. Comparison and refinement of integrated pest management tactics for Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) management in apple orchards. Journal of Economic Entomology. 113(4):1725-1734.
Chambers, B.D., Leskey, T.C., Cullum, J.P., Pearce, A.R., Kuhar, T. 2020. Cavity tightness preferences of overwintering Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Journal of Economic Entomology. 113(3):1572-1575.
Akotsen-Mensah, C., Blaauw, B., Short, B.D., Leskey, T.C., Bergh, J., Polk, D., Nielsen, A. 2020. Using IPM-CPR as a management program for apple orchards. Journal of Economic Entomology.
Ibrahim, A., Kirkpatrick, D.M., Nixon, L., Ludwick, D.C., Anfora, G., Leskey, T.C. 2020. Effect of deltamethrin-incorporated nets on mobility and survivorship of Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) adults and nymphs in the laboratory. Journal of Applied Entomology.
Cullum, J.P., Nixon, L.J., Morrison III, W.R., Raupp, M.J., Shrewsbury, P.M., Venogal, P., Martinson, H., Bergh, J., Leskey, T.C. 2020. Influence of landscape factors and abiotic conditions on dispersal behavior and overwintering site selection by Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae). Journal of Economic Entomology.
Pinero, J.C., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., Cooley, D.R., Tuttle, A., Eaton, A., Drohan, P., Leahy, K., Zhang, A., Hancock, T., Wallingford, A.K., Leskey, T.C. 2020. Toward the integration of an attract-and-kill approach with entomopathogenic nematodes to control multiple life stages of plum curculio (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Insects.
Ludwick, D.C., Morrison III, W.R., Acebes-Doria, A.L., Agnello, A.M., Bergh, J., Buffington, M.L., Hamilton, G.C., Harper, J.K., Hoelmer, K.A., Krawczyk, G., Kuhar, T.P., Pfeiffer, D.G., Nielsen, A.L., Rice, K.B., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Shearer, P.W., Shrewsbury, P.M., Talamas, E.J., Walgenbach, J.F., Wiman, N.G., Leskey, T.C. 2020. Invasion of the brown marmorated stink bug (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) into the USA: developing a national response to an invasive species crisis through collaborative research and outreach efforts. Journal of Integrated Pest Management. 11(1):1-16.
Leskey, T.C., Andrews, H., Bady, A., Benvenuto, L., Bernardinelli, I., Blaauw, B., Bortolotti, P., Bosco, L., Hamilton, G., Kuhar, T., Ludwick, D., Maistrello, L., Malossini, G., Nannini, R., Nixon, L.J., Pasqualini, E., Preti, M., Short, B.D., Spears, L., Vetek, G., Wiman, N. 2021. Refining pheromone lures for the invasive Halyomorpha halys (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae) through collaborative trials in the United States and Europe. Journal of Economic Entomology.
Nixon, L.J., Ludwick, D.C., Leskey, T.C. 2020. Horizontal and vertical dispersal capacity and effects of fluorescent marking on Lycorma delicatula nymphs and adults. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata. 169:219-226.
Lampasona, T.P., Rodriguez-Saona, C., Leskey, T.C., Nielsen, A.L. 2020. A review of the biology, ecology, and management of plum curculio (Coleoptera: Curculionidae). Journal of Integrated Pest Management. 11(1):22;1-12.
Nixon, L.J., Leach, H., Barnes, C.J., Urban, J., Kirkpatrick, D.M., Ludwick, D.C., Short, B., Pfeiffer, D.G., Leskey, T.C. 2020. Development of behaviorally-based monitoring and biosurveillance tools for the invasive spotted lanternfly (Hemiptera: Fulgoridae). Environmental Entomology. 49(5):1117-1126.
Ni, X., Li, C., Jiang, H., Takeda, F. 2020. Three-dimensional photogrammetry with deep learning instance segmentation to extract berry fruit harvestability traits. Journal of Photogrammetry and Remote Sensing. 171:297-309.