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In-silico boosted, pest prevention and off-season focused IPM against new and emerging fruit flies ('OFF-Season' FF-IPM)

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - FF-IPM (In-silico boosted, pest prevention and off-season focused IPM against new and emerging fruit flies ('OFF-Season' FF-IPM))

Reporting period: 2019-09-01 to 2021-02-28

Alien, invasive pests’ and new emerging ones are threatening the fresh fruit and vegetable production and trading in Europe and elsewhere. Fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae, FF), including highly pestiferous and aggressive invasive species, such as the Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitata, Cc), the Oriental Fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis, Bd) and the peach fruit fly (Bactrocera zonata, Bz). Cc are currently expanding their geographic distribution from the coastal warmer areas of the Mediterranean parts of Europe to northern and more continental areas thus posing an additional havoc to deciduous fruit production in these areas. On the other hand, Bd and Bz are frequently intercepted in European ports of entry and have been detected in few European countries. Becoming established, both Bd and Bz, are expected to cause major economic damage to European fruit and vegetable growers and to the trading sector. The risks of arrival, establishment and range expansion of the above invasive FF are expected to escalate because of global climate change, increased trading, and human mobility. The ban of neonicotinoids, which is one of the main control tools against FF in Europe, poses an additional burden on fruit growers in Europe.
FF-IPM aims to “develop holistic knowledge-based approaches, innovative tools and services, to empower stakeholders across all sectors along the fruit production and processing chain to (a) dynamically address the impending risks of FF invasion, and (b) efficiently apply FF management throughout a spatial and seasonal continuum in a comprehensive, multi-actor and locally-adapted manner”.
Main achievements-
Objectives:
• Development of a database of overwintering traits of the three FF species. The off-season performance of several biological control agents and Lure and kill systems for Cc has been addressed.
• A decision support tool for the IPM of Cc has been achieved. A database of IPM related parameters has been developed for six pilot sites.
• Interception and detection tools (e-nose and e-traps to trace infested fruit and detect adults respectively) have been advanced. Identification tools for invasive FF have been developed. Substantial progress in climatic population modelling has been accomplished and the first risk maps produced.
• A database of major stakeholder has been developed including members of regional and national plant protection authorities and the whole fruit producing and trading chain.

Results:
• A database of data on the biology of the three target FFs.
• The plastic and adaptive response of Cc in various abiotic stressors have been assessed and data on overwintering capacity in laboratory condition and in cooler European areas (Croatia, Austria) have been generated.
• Data on survival and development of different Cc populations in two key overwintering hosts under different temperature regimes has been collected.
• Data on thermal, desiccation and starvation resistance of different populations of Cc and one population of Bz. generated
• Empirical studies on establishment and detection of low-density Cc populations have been concluded.
• The off-season (early spring) performance of biological control agents as well as that of lure and kill systems have been explored.
• The development of an e-nose system to identify FF infested fruit by Cc and Bd has been progressed.
• An electronic multi-entry key for recognition of adult FF (among at least 21 closely related species of quarantine importance) has been developed and a beta version is currently tested.
• Substantial progress has been accomplished in the development of LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) for Bactrocera species and molecular tools to trace the origin of intercepted and detected FF specimens.
• Two e-trap prototypes have been advanced and field tested, as well as specific algorithms for the identification of captured adults.
• Sampling for the development of molecular ID tools to trace origin of FF is largely finalized (except for Bz) and first analyses for Cc and Bd were initiated.
• Data regarding the dispersion patterns of adult Cc and the detection efficacy of currently used trapping systems and strategies have been generated.
• The CLIMEX and DYMEX population model has been adapted for the three target FF species considering project generated data and existing published information following a thorough literature review. A first version of risk maps has been generated with emphasis on Europe.
• Five pilot sites in four countries have been selected and established to test model generated scenarios for the detection efficacy and dispersion patterns of the three target species.
• The VirtualFarm Decision Support System tool based on the PESTonFARM model has been developed.
• To conduct empirical research on OFF and ON Season Cc management, six pilot sites have been selected in Greece, Italy and Spain. Eighteen farms (3 in each pilot site) were characterized as far as (a) host fruit phenology, (b) Cc overwintering resources and seasonal patterns of adult populations, and (c) economic aspects of Cc management are regarded.
• The first version of the FF-IPM platform has been developed. Also, a generic exploitation plan has been developed.
The impact of the FF-IPM project on generating new knowledge for FF is already substantial since several elements of the plastic and adaptive responses to various abiotic and biotic stresses have been determined.
The three modelling approaches (CLIMEX, DYMEX, PEST on FARM) that have progressed are complementary and jointly cover the whole spatial continuum from farm, to local, regional and European level and are expected to have a strong impact on decisions regarding management, detection and interception of the three target species. Furthermore, the analysis of the information gathered regarding fruit trading, interceptions and detections will have impact on understanding the factors that contribute to risk of FF invasion in Europe. The data regarding Cc overwintering, dispersion and response to stress conditions provide a solid foundation for testing hypothesis regarding expansion of this pest to areas of Central Europe.
The development of environmentally sound solutions for pest management in farming has been clearly addressed through the (a) development of spatial modelling at different scales with apparent contribution to the development of the “Pan-European FF Alert system”, (b) progress in the e-nose system to identify fruit fly infested fruit and the advances in morphological and molecular identification tools to identify intercepted specimens, and (c) advances in e-trap development.
Real time data generation of the strategically deployed e-traps will contribution in reducing the response time of EU countries in case of an invasion event by an exotic fruit fly. The IPM tools that we are developing do not involve any pesticide use, are compatible with organic farming and will contribute to minimize pesticide use, residues on the produce and any negative effect on biodiversity.
Excepted results:
• Completion of data generation on biological traits
• Improvement of the FF-IPM platform
• Pilot tests of FF detection, interception and IPM Insilco generated scenarios
• Development of dynamic risk maps for the three target FFs
• Intense dissemination activities and policy information
• Exploitation of FF-IPM products
Concept and Approaches of the FF-IPM project