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Using radiation to sterilize insect pests may protect California fruits and vegetables

Date:
December 1, 2011
Source:
Entomological Society of America
Summary:
A new study shows that radiation can be used to effectively sterilize the light brown apple moth, an invasive pest to the California wine industry, as well as fruit and vegetable growers.

A new study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology shows that radiation can be used to effectively sterilize the light brown apple moth (LBAM), an insect pest found in Australia, New Zealand, California, Hawaii, Sweden, and the British Isles. The light brown apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker), feeds on apples, pears, stonefruits, citrus, grapes, berries and many other plants. A native of Australia, it has been found in California since 2007. The California Department of Food and Agriculture has spent more than $70 million in CDFA and USDA funds to eradicate the LBAM, and estimates that failure to eradicate it could cost California growers over $133 million per year.

Using similar methodologies in two different laboratories, the authors coordinated radiation biology studies between two geographically isolated LBAM populations from Australia and New Zealand. The results showed that for both populations, an irradiation dose of 250 Gy administered to LBMA pupae induced >95% sterility in females and >90% sterility in males. These results can be used to initiate a suppression program against the LBMA where sterile males are released, mate with wild females, and no offspring are produced. If successful, this technique can largely eliminate the need for pesticides.

"These results suggest that a sterile insect technique (SIT) or F1 sterility program can be applied to control an infestation of Epiphyas postvittana, but these would still be reliant on complementary information such as physical fitness and modeling of overflooding ratios." according to the authors. "The challenge now is to identify the dose of radiation that would provide a balance between insect sterility and field competitiveness."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Entomological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Rajendra Soopaya, Lloyd D. Stringer, Bill Woods, Andrea E. A. Stephens, Ruth C. Butler, Ian Lacey, Amandip Kaur, and David M. Suckling. Radiation Biology and Inherited Sterility of Light Brown Apple Moth (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae): Developing a Sterile Insect Release Program. J. Econ. Entomol., 104(6): 19992008 (2011) DOI: 10.1603/EC11049

Cite This Page:

Entomological Society of America. "Using radiation to sterilize insect pests may protect California fruits and vegetables." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 December 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111130171103.htm>.
Entomological Society of America. (2011, December 1). Using radiation to sterilize insect pests may protect California fruits and vegetables. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111130171103.htm
Entomological Society of America. "Using radiation to sterilize insect pests may protect California fruits and vegetables." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/11/111130171103.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

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