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CORDIS

Rapid elimination of invasive insect agricultural pest outbreaks by tackling them with Sterile Insect Technique programs

Project description

Innovative strategies against invasive agricultural pest insects

The protection of fruit and vegetable production from two invasive insect pests, Bactrocera dorsalis (Bd) and B. zonata (Bz), is a top priority. The EU-funded REACT project will develop long-term environmentally friendly response strategies and innovative sustainable tools to increase the capacity to prevent, identify, monitor, and control these pests. The project will assess invasion risks by combining the characterization of the main facilitators and critical drivers of early invasive processes, sources, and dynamics of adventive populations, and suitable hotspots for species establishment with an analysis of the potential ecological and socio-economic impacts of invasions. REACT will then develop innovative field-deployable, rapid, species-specific, and cost-efficient strategies for sterile insect release programmes to protect fruit and vegetables from these invaders.

Objective

REACT aims to develop long-term environmentally friendly response strategies and novel sustainable tools to protect fruit and vegetable production and export capacities from two invasive insect pests of EU priority, Bactrocera dorsalis (Bd) and B. zonata (Bz). The project proposes a holistic response plan to provide enhanced capacity to prevent, identify, monitor and control these pests. To assess invasion risks, REACT will characterize the main facilitators and critical drivers of early invasive processes, sources and dynamics of adventive populations, and suitable hotspots for species establishment coupled with the analysis of the potential ecological and socio-economic impacts of invasions. To fight invasions at the first onset, REACT will develop a novel field-deployable, rapid and cost-effective mobile solution for interception. Multiple novel reaction strategy components and tools tailored to the characterized bioecological features of Bd and Bz will be developed and integrated to tackle outbreak events by economically sound SIT programs. These include a new bioinformatic pipeline to develop ‘neoclassical’ genetic sexing strains for the target species, novel genetic and metabolic markers to assess the quality of mass-reared flies, and diet supplements for enhanced mass-rearing. To prove the feasibility of an eradication SIT approach for the first time in Europe, releases with Ceratitis capitata will be conducted in areas with low pest prevalence, mimicking invasion scenarios. The program and its socio-economic impact will be evaluated with stakeholders and multiple actors, and a quick intervention guide for diverse invasion risk scenarios will be developed. This will translate into rapid response pest eradication capabilities that are pesticide free, adequate to a wide variety of EU fruticulture and trade under changing climatic, legal, and regulatory conditions and able to safeguard ecosystems and biodiversity while improving food safety.

Coordinator

JUSTUS-LIEBIG-UNIVERSITAET GIESSEN
Net EU contribution
€ 1 445 475,00
Address
LUDWIGSTRASSE 23
35390 Giessen
Germany

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Region
Hessen Gießen Gießen, Landkreis
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Links
Total cost
€ 1 445 475,00

Participants (13)

Partners (1)