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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Tifton, Georgia » Crop Protection and Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #236567

Title: Improving the cost-effectiveness, trade and safety of biological control for agricultural insect pests using nuclear techniques

Author
item HENDRICHS, JORGE
item BLOEM, KENNETH
item HOCH, GERNOT
item Carpenter, James
item GREANY, PATRICK
item ROBINSON, ALAN

Submitted to: Biocontrol Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/2/2009
Publication Date: 6/18/2009
Citation: Hendrichs, J., Bloem K., Hoch, G., Carpenter, J.E., Greany, P., Robinson, A. 2009. Improving the cost-effectiveness, trade and safety of biological control for agricultural insect pests using nuclear techniques. Biocontrol Science and Technology. 19(S1)3-22.

Interpretive Summary: If appropriately applied, biological control offers one of the most promising, environmentally sound, and sustainable control tactics for arthropod pests and weeds for application as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. Public support for biological control as one of the preferred methods of managing non-indigenous and indigenous pests is increasing in many countries. An FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project (CRP), which included the USDA Agricultural Research Service and other leading research organizations throughout the world, addressed constraints related to costly production systems for biological control agents, and the presence of accompanying pest organisms during their shipment. These constraints can be ameliorated by using nuclear techniques involving ionizing radiation or X rays to reduce production and handling costs, and to eliminate the risk of shipping fertile host or prey pest individuals or other hitchhiking pests. They can also reduce the risks associated with the introduction of exotic biological control agents, which can become pests of non-target organisms if not carefully screened under semi-natural or natural conditions. Radiation also can be used to study host-parasitoid physiological interactions, such as the host immune response, in order to suppress defensive reactions of natural or factitious hosts. Very low-dose radiation may also be used to stimulate reproduction of some entomophagous insects. Additionally, radiation can be applied to deploy semi-sterile or sterile hosts or prey in the field to increase the initial survival and build-up of natural or released biological control agents in advance of seasonal pest population build-up. It is feasible to integrate augmentative and sterile insect release in area-wide IPM programmes, and to utilise by-products from insect mass-rearing facilities in augmentative biological control programmes. This paper presents an overview of the results of the CRP, many which are presented in this special issue.

Technical Abstract: If appropriately applied, biological control offers one of the most promising, environmentally sound, and sustainable control tactics for arthropod pests and weeds for application as part of an integrated pest management (IPM) approach. Public support for biological control as one of the preferred methods of managing non-indigenous and indigenous pests is increasing in many countries. An FAO/IAEA Coordinated Research Project (CRP) addressed constraints related to costly production systems for biological control agents, and the presence of accompanying pest organisms during their shipment. These constraints can be ameliorated by using nuclear techniques involving ionizing radiation or X rays to reduce production and handling costs, and to eliminate the risk of shipping fertile host or prey pest individuals or other hitchhiking pests. They can also reduce the risks associated with the introduction of exotic biological control agents, which can become pests of non-target organisms if not carefully screened under semi-natural or natural conditions. Radiation can also be used to study host-parasitoid physiological interactions, such as the host immune response, in order to suppress defensive reactions of natural or factitious hosts. Very low-dose radiation may also be used to stimulate reproduction of some entomophagous insects. Additionally, radiation can be applied to deploy semi-sterile or sterile hosts or prey in the field to increase the initial survival and build-up of natural or released biological control agents in advance of seasonal pest population build-up. It is feasible to integrate augmentative and sterile insect release in area-wide IPM programmes, and to utilise by-products from insect mass-rearing facilities in augmentative biological control programmes. This special issue provides an overview of the research results of the CRP.