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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory » Research » Research Project #438745

Research Project: Quarantine, Germplasm Acquisition/Maintenance, Phytopathology Studies and Clone Evaluation of Theobroma Cacao

Location: Invasive Insect Biocontrol & Behavior Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-22000-315-010-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Apr 1, 2020
End Date: Mar 31, 2025

The primary goal of this project is to develop much needed insights into cocoa pod borer (CPB) management for growers and scientist to develop more cost effective cocoa pod borer control strategies based on insect pheromone and natural product, resulting in reduction of synthetic pesticide usage, protection of our environment, and production of better quality cocoa beans as well as better chocolate products for worldwide consumers.

Host volatiles (called kairomone) that attract both male and female are one option for such purpose. Odors from different age cocoa pod will been collected, analyzed by GC-MS, and synthesized if necessary. The field test will be conducted to evaluate the activity of potential kairomone. The sex pheromone components will been synthesized with modification of the existing method and relative attractancy of synthetic blends with different levels of non-target pheromone components and chemical purities will be tested in the cocoa fields. Attract & Kill strategy will be evaluated and developed as more efficient CPB control strategy.