Location: Fruit and Tree Nut Research
Project Number: 6042-22000-024-015-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement
Start Date: Jun 1, 2021
End Date: May 30, 2026
1. Enhance production, application, and formulation technology for microbial control agents (particularly entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi) for application to pecan, peach and other crops. 2. Explore the use of metabolites derived from microbial control agents for improved insect control. 3. Investigate novel mass production for microbial control agents. 4. Enhance basic understanding of foraging strategies in entomopathogenic nematodes.
In a systems approach involving fundamental and applied components, University of Georgia will assist ARS in conducting research to develop or enhance microbial control technology for suppression of key insect pests. Main pests of interest will include homopterans (aphids, whiteflies), curculionids (such as pecan weevil and plum curculio) and Synanthedon spp. (such as peachtree borer). The newly developed microbial control strategies will be applied to various cropping systems such as pecan, peach and row crops. Specifically, the University of Georgia will assist ARS in the following approaches: 1) Novel formulations for entomopathogenic nematodes and fungi (including nanoparticle based formulations) will be screened for protective abilities, 2) metabolites from entomopathogenic bacteria will be tested against homopteran or other insect pests for biocontrol potential, 3) new approaches to microbial application will be explored including slow-release technology and chemical signaling boosters, 4) basic ecology of microbial agents will be investigated by elucidating foraging strategies and systemic resistance factors. The results of the various research components will be published in refereed journals, trade magazines, or extension articles, presented at professional and grower meetings. Information from the research will be integrated and formulated into improved pest management strategies.