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ARS Home » Midwest Area » Peoria, Illinois » National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research » Crop Bioprotection Research » Research » Research Project #441038

Research Project: Approaches to Controlling Laurel Wilt in Avocados; Optimizing Potential of Mites to Vector Beneficial Microbes

Location: Crop Bioprotection Research

Project Number: 5010-22410-024-002-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Aug 1, 2022
End Date: Sep 30, 2023

Improve rearing and release methods of the mite Histiogaster arborsignis (Acari: Astigmata) to increase fungal biocontrol delivery.

In previous laboratory studies the mite H. arborsignis showed potential to carry and inoculate viable entomopathogenic and competitor fungal spores into ambrosia beetle galleries. However, H. arborsignis performs poorly when reared on dense fungal colonies. New rearing protocols are needed to maximize fungus delivery by H. arborsignis into the ambrosia beetle system. Maximizing fungus delivery by phoretic mites requires an ideal combination of important factors for both organisms, namely: (1) type of rearing substrate, (2) relative humidity inside of the rearing unit, (3) initial fungal inoculum, and (4) introduction time of mites into the rearing unit. Different combinations of the factors listed above will be tested. As needed, qPCR will be used to quantify fungi and Sanger sequencing will be used to confirm the identity of recovered isolates.