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Breeding Invertebrates for Next Generation BioControl (BINGO)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BINGO (Breeding Invertebrates for Next Generation BioControl (BINGO))

Reporting period: 2015-01-01 to 2016-12-31

Background: Secure and sustainable food production in terms of quantity and quality is a major challenge facing human societies. However, food security is continuously threatened by current and invasive pest species. EU regulations for the use of pesticides are getting stricter to ensure food safety and protect ecosystem health. Biocontrol of agricultural pests by using natural enemies has great potential to deal with these two demands.

Challenge: Controlling novel exotic pests often involves importing non-native natural enemies. Such practices are undesirable as it poses risks to local biodiversity. Optimizing existing and native biocontrol agents can reduce the dependence on imported natural enemies.

Objective: BINGO’s strategic objective within which the research training program of the 13 ESRs is implemented, is to advance the current state of knowledge on the use of genetic variation in biological control practice with the simultaneous development of a new breed of young researchers that have an extensive suite of interdisciplinary skills that allows them to rise to the challenges of improving the efficiency of biological pest control through selective breeding of natural enemies in a broad range of agricultural systems and environmental conditions. The general technical objective is to enhance the application of (quantitative) genetic methods to invertebrate biocontrol using the knowledge gained from interactions within BINGO.

How: The research projects will address current bottlenecks in biocontrol, for rearing, monitoring and performance, that include a broad range of scientific disciplines and in which state-of-the-art population genomics will be applied. Industry has a pivotal role by providing the problems for research, training, and by translating the results to capacity building and increased competitiveness.
BINGO currently is half-way through the project and is making progress in both the strategic and technical objectives. The research training program is running and has implemented two BINGO Summer Schools and one BINGO Workshop. These centrally organised events provide the basis for the ESRs to build and expand their interdisciplinary skill set within their RPs. The individual research training programs are tailor-made, and all ESRs have been working towards their personal training goals as structured by their PCDPs (see section 1.2.2 WP2). While still early in the project cycle, the current state of knowledge on the use of genetic variation in biological control is already advancing through the research from BINGO, most visible by the publication of a review paper on this topic by the coordinator. Importantly, all RPs have started to collect their first results and several ESRs are working on their first research papers, thus fulfilling the specific objectives for BINGO as organized in the seven Work Packages.
BINGO will deliver improved biocontrol agents, knowledge on the genetic organization of traits related to agents’ performance, genetic markers for monitoring and risk assessment, and guidelines and protocols for genetic improvement of natural enemies. Crucially, BINGO will deliver eager ESRs that have the potential to thrive in professional environments in science, industry and public bodies to ensure that the biocontrol potential is met and implemented.
Natural enemy in action: wasp parasitising butterfly egg
BINGO ESRs learning about greenhouse biocontrol at BINGO Summer School
BINGO ESR working on project in apple orchard
BINGO researchers at annual meeting in Valencia, January 2016