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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory » Research » Research Project #438614

Research Project: Develop Pest Management Technologies and Strategies to Control the Coffee Berry Borer

Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-22000-311-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Jul 29, 2020
End Date: Jul 28, 2025

Objective:
Objective 1: Study possible acoustic communication in the coffee berry borer. [NP304, C3, PS3B and 3C] Objective 2: Conduct an in-depth analysis of the coffee berry borer genome and transcriptome with the goal of elucidating functional and evolutionary innovations that might lead to novel and effective pest management strategies. [NP304, C3, PS3B and 3C]

Approach:
The coffee berry borer, Hypothenemus hampei, is the most devastating insect pest of coffee worldwide. Endemic to Africa, this bark beetle is now present in most coffee growing regions worldwide. Since most of its life cycle is spent inside the coffee berry, where the insect feeds solely on the coffee seeds, it is extremely difficult to manage. Most efforts aimed at managing the coffee berry borer have focused on biological control alternatives, including the release of parasitoids and the use of fungal entomopathogens, the use of traps, and cultural practices. More recently, a repellent has been identified but it is not commercially available. Due to the lack of effective and reliable pest management strategies against the coffee berry borer, it is essential to move the field in a new direction. The first objective of this project is to determine whether there is acoustic communication in the insect, and if there is, whether it can be interfered with to negatively affect its behavior and reproduction. The second objective is to conduct an in-depth analysis of the coffee berry borer genome and transcriptome with the goal of elucidating functional and evolutionary innovations that might lead to novel and effective pest management strategies. The focus will be on whether antisense oligonucleotides can be used to disrupt genes essential for survival. These objectives address the need to develop novel pest management strategies against this important agricultural pest.