Submitted to: International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods
Publication Type: Abstract only
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/8/2005
Publication Date: 9/12/2006
Citation: Lapointe, S.L., Evens, T.J., Niedz, R.P. 2016. Application of response surface methodology for development and optimization of insect diets for mass production of parasitoids. International Symposium on Biological Control of Arthropods. Interpretive Summary:
Technical Abstract: The U.S.D.A. has provided two encyrtid parasitoids, Anagyrus kamali Moursi and Gyranusoidea indica Schaffe, Alam & Agarwal (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) throughout the Western hemisphere for control of the pink hibiscus mealybug (Maconellicoccus hirsututs) and is currently conducting international surveys for additional parasitoids. For mass-producing parasitoids, M. hirsutus must be reared on fruits of various species of cucurbits, sprouted potatoes, or hibiscus plants. Of these, the preferred host has been Japanese pumpkin (Cucurbita moschata) due to its ribbed rinds and characteristic warted surface, which provide large settling areas for mealybugs. However, seasonal shortages of produce, and difficulties in maintaining a continuous supply of etiolated sprouts of potato, threaten production and increase costs. Work in our laboratory compared plant hosts and showed the potential of a pumpkin-based meridic diet for rearing M. hirsutus. Complete mealybug development was obtained on meridic diet as well as five plant substrates. There was a positive linear relationship between developmental rates of female M. hirsutus obtained on plant hosts and diet, and those of A. kamali females and males. Adult parasitoid emergence was approximately 20% on meridic diet compared with 60% on the best plant substrate. These results with a simple diet encouraged us to pursue a semi-defined artificial diet based on readily available materials. To simplify diet optimization, we applied response surface methods. Our results and the broader application of this approach will be discussed.