June 22, 2012
Researchers from across the globe seeking to control two invasive pests causing major damage to tomato and fruit crops are set to benefit from a new project, proposed by ENDURE and funded under the European Commission’s FP7 International Research Staff Exchange programme.
ASCII (Ameliorating the Sustainable Control of Invasive Insects) brings together 12 partners from Italy, France, the UK, USA, Argentina, Brazil and China. It will focus on the development of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) of the tomato leafminer Tuta absoluta and of the spotted wing fly Drosophila suzukii. Tuta absoluta (pictured right), which first appeared in Spain in 2007, has been spreading worldwide and represents a major problem for tomato growers. Drosophila suzukii, which attacks a range of different fruits, is native to Southeast Asia and has been spreading in North America and recently appeared in Europe.
ASCII will be launched in February 2013. Exchanges between researchers, including workshops, conferences, joint publications and training initiatives, will further the integration of new practices derived from basic research in biology, genetics and biological control to promote lasting management approaches to these pests. The specific areas to be tackled and integrated into IPM programmes include monitoring, detection and characterizing of pest and natural enemy populations, work on semiochemicals involved in tritrophic interactions, assessment of target and non-target effects from pesticides, and training of researchers, advisers and growers in both invaded and to-be-invaded countries.
It will establish lasting collaborations between European, Latin American, North American and Chinese partners fighting the same pests. Each partner brings to the project its own expertise and will assist visiting scientists from other partners while they familiarise themselves with local techniques and approaches for the sustainable control of the pest in question. The strong link between each partner and local farmers and stakeholders will guarantee the immediate resonance of the results via a practical problem-solving approach.
ASCII has been generated as a result of ENDURE’s strategy to promote the exchange of researchers and to work with partners outside Europe. ENDURE expects that ASCII will produce practical outputs and yield long-term benefits in terms of cooperation on IPM research.
ASCII involves both junior and senior researchers in insect pest management and brings together 12 universities and national agencies including:
- Consiglio Nazionale delle Richerche, Istituto per la Protezione delle Piante, Italy
- Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique, France
- Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, United Kingdom
- Universidad Federal de Viçosa, Brazil
- Università degli Studi di Catania, Italy
- Oregon State University, Oregon, USA
- Universidade Federal Rural de Pernambuco, Brazil
- European Biological Control Laboratory, United States Department of Agriculture
- Universidade de la Plata, Argentina
- Huazhong University of Agriculture, People’s Republic of China
- University of California Berkley, USA
- Chinese Academy of Agricultural Science, Institute of Plant Protection, People’s Republic of China
ASCII is coordinated by CNR-IPP (National Research Council, Italy - Institute for Plant Protection) in Naples. For further information, please contact ASCII coordinator Emilio Guerrieri.