Certain naturally occurring, plant-based substances display toxicological properties on different Drosophila fruit fly (D.) species, with D. suzukii being the most susceptible.
They can be used to control D. suzukii, which is a major global pest species.
The Drosophila (D.) suzukii is currently one of the most important pestiferous species, affecting parts of Asia, Europe, the Americas and regions in the Middle East. In contrast to other D. species, D. suzukii lays their eggs in a range of wild to cultivated ripening, soft-skinned fruit (blueberries, cranberries, cherries and strawberries), damaging them and rendering them unmarketable. This inflicts huge economic losses to growers.
Existing strategies to reduce the damage caused by D. suzukii consist of a combination of surveillance, sanitation and control measures, which are primarily and most commonly, conventional broad-spectrum insecticides. However, these have not been very effective, are not always in line with integrated pest management programs and affect insect species indiscriminately.
CRG researchers have identified naturally occurring substances commonly used as odorants in the flavor and fragrance industry, which display differential toxicological properties on D. species, with D. suzukii being the most susceptible. The substances are toxic to D. suzukii adults, larvae and eggs, and prevent egg laying in ripe fruit. Importantly, the substances are safe for pollinators such as the honeybee in the concentration range toxic to D. suzukii. The results establish proof-of-principle that the novel identified substances can be used to control D. suzukii pest, overcoming the limitations of existing strategies and integrating as part of ecologically sustainable solutions against D. suzukii specifically.
- The substances both prevent, and provide protection after fruit infestation by D. suzukii.
- Contrary to broad-spectrum insecticides, they are highly specific to D. suzukii and negligibly toxic for bees and humans .
- They are naturally occurring, and therefore compatible with organic cultivation .
Patent EP17382788.2 filed.