Science Into Practice - Using biocontrol agents to help control insects

Aphids and related pests cause immense damage to a wide variety of crops.

However, the range of pesticides available to control these pests is continually decreasing and there are many circumstances where existing biological controls are not sufficiently effective.

Some bacteria found on leaf surfaces can kill aphids and other insects while having negligible mammalian toxicity.

This means that the potential exists to either use them as a directly applied biological control agent or to manipulate the crop environment to enhance their development.

This new HDC studentship project, CP 82, will identify the bacteria found on leaf surfaces, and elsewhere on crops, and then screen them to identify those bacteria that can kill aphids and thrips.

Suitable methods of either applying the bacteria or enhancing naturally occurring populations will then be developed.

Students will be trained in bacteriology, entomology and horticulture. Regular visits with growers will enhance the students' knowledge of the horticultural industry.

Dates for your diary

How to Save Energy & Grow Disease-Free Ornamental Crops, Preston. 6 October

Technical seminar aimed at ornamental growers, particularly production supervisors. For further details, see www.growsave.co.uk/energy-events.

How to Save Energy & Grow Disease-Free Ornamental Crops, Chichester, 20 October

Technical seminar aimed at ornamental growers, particularly production supervisors. For further details, see www.growsave.co.uk/energy-events.

Horticultural Development Company

For details on all HDC activity, visit www.hdc.org.uk


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