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This project has received funding from the European Union's Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no 613678

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Strategies to develop effective, innovative and practical approaches to protect major european fruit crops from pests and pathogens

Effective and innovative solutions to control Drosophila suzukii

Task 4.1. Semiochemical-based technologies: monitoring, mass-trapping, lure & infect (Task leader UPV)
Question: What are the best methods to attract and trap or infect D. suzukii?
The physical design (e.g. shape, colour, entry points) of traps as well different attractive media for D. suzukii will be tested in laboratory and field trails. The best trap/media combination will be used to compare the efficiency of semiochemicals and attractants identified (in task 2.4). Different products that sterilize or infect (chemicals and nematodes, bacteria or fungus) will also be tested for their efficiency against the fly and special attractive traps will be tested in the field.

Task 4.2. Biological control (task leader INRA)
Question: How to develop the biological control of D. suzukii?
Hymenopteran endoparasitoid wasps are essential regulators of insect pests in ecosystems as well as important biological control auxiliaries.
Communities of insect parasitoids associated with native Drosophila species are quite well known in Europe. Local parasitoids will be tested against D. suzukii to determine if they are able to parasitize this fly and, if possible, ameliorate their success by selection (based on venom factors necessary for the parasitic success).
Asian parasitoids (obtained from Japanese and Chinese partners) will be also tested in laboratories and under quarantine conditions (greenhouses) to determine their efficiency and specificity toward D. suzukii and any possible side effects on the European Drosophila species.
Commercially available as well as new biological control agents (predatory bugs, nematodes, pathogens) will also be tested on D. suzukii in under laboratory and field conditions using standard procedures. The best entomopathogenic fungi will be used in lure and control strategies (T4.1).

Task 4.3. Chemical control (Task leader UNIPD)
Question: What approved insecticides could be used with the biological control of D. suzukii?
A range of compounds appropriate for use on fruit in Europe will be assessed for efficacy against D. suzukii. Insecticides with different modes of action and routes to target will be examined and will include those with direct contact toxicity towards adults as well toxicity towards the larvae. After screening, products with the best performances will be tested in experimental fields, and application methods evaluated as well as their possible side effects on the selected biological control agents.

Task 4.4. Sterile insect techniques (SIT) (Task leader Oxitec Limited)
Question: What alternative to the biological control of D. suzukii?
An attractive alternative to the “classical biological control” would be the development of sterile insect techniques (SIT) for D. suzukii. Flies carrying a Dominant Lethal (RIDL-Release of Insects carrying a Dominant Lethal-) strain will be developed in the laboratory. Critical parameters will then be tested in field cages, which provides a more realistic (but contained) environment, with complete control over and access to the experimental fly populations. No open release of these flies will occur in the framework of this project.

Task 4.5. New mode of action compounds (Task leader FERA)
Question: What alternative to the biological control of D. suzukii?
RNA interference (RNAi) using double stranded RNA (dsRNA) is a newly identified approach to insect control that involves down-regulation of expression of essential genes in a highly species specific manner. Target genes will be identified to kill adult insects, to prevent egg laying and to silence metabolic detoxification pathways for reducing the application dose of chemical insecticides. Drosophila suzukii G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) will be characterized using molecular techniques, and receptor screening (reporter) assays for drug (pesticide) discovery will be developed. Active compounds will be tested in vivo. New microencapsulation methods for stabilizing and delivering dsRNA and receptor agonists/antagonists will then be developed to target D. suzukii.

Marylène Poirié, INRA (France)