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New female selective attractants for medfly

Contract nr: FAIR-CT98-4441
Project nr: 4441
Project type: SC
Starting date: 01/03/1999
Duration: 36 months
Total cost: 1,179,402 EUR
EC Contribution: 589,701 EUR
Scientific Officer: Massimo BURIONI
Research topic: Plant health
Acronym: FLYAWAY

The Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata is a major pest of the fresh fruit industry and is considered as a key agricultural pest in many parts of the world. It attacks most citrus varieties, deciduous and subtropical fruits as well as some vegetables. All the Mediterranean Basin countries that grow medfly host plants suffer from damage. Certain countries that are free of the medfly (the US, most Far-eastern countries, parts of Australia, and some European countries), and which are actual/potential target markets for the import of fresh fruits and vegetables, activate strict quarantine regulations against it. The most efficient control system against the medfly in current use is spraying with a poison-bait mixture. Traps containing the powerful male attractant trimedlure are being used to monitor medfly populations. Two additional environmentally friendly (EF) control systems are being studied and used in part - the mass `lure-and-kill' trapping method and the sterile-insect technique (SIT). In both systems, female food lures are used as baits for traps. The bait presently used in control systems against the medfly is a liquid protein hydrolysate intended to attract mainly females. Since the discovery by McPhail (1939) of the attractiveness of such materials, no further breakthrough has been reported. The attractiveness of some commercial baits is no higher than that of some commonly used manures and fertilizers. New, more efficient baits are needed to control the medfly. No female attractant(s) of similar power to that of trimedlure (for males) is known.

Since females are the fruit-damaging population, the general goal of the project is the development of female-specific attractant(s). The proposed development of an improved bait is based on the attraction of medfly to ammonia. This general goal will be achieved through the following specific objectives and tasks:
(1) the development of an alternative commercial bait for control systems against the Mediterraean fruit fly;
(2) to strengthen the attractiveness and the female-selectivity of these baits;
(3) to determine the efficacy of the new baits used in traps;
(4) adapting the product to poison-bait spray application;
(5) to determine in large-scale field trials the efficacy of a new lure-and-kill mixture to be developed in aerial sprays in Israel and in Greece.

This proposal brings together one private firm and three R&D public institutions from two European countries and Israel. All of them have a great deal of experience of working with either the Mediterrenean fruit fly and/or the implementation of biological control methods. The composition of research teams (industrial and laboratory chemist, insect biologists and physiologists, basic and applied researchers, extensionists, field workers) guarantees a multidisciplinary and realistic approach and the practical application of results. The project fits within Area 4.4.1 Plant & Health: Control methods or eradication methods for quarantine organisms.

Current situation/results:
The potential of new medfly attractants on laboratory reared flies are being studied. Prototype controlled release dispensers have been produced. Small-scale field trials have been set up in fields near Heraklion and Athens in Greece and near Bet Dagan in Israel.

TNO Institute of Industrial Technology
PO Box 6235
NL-5600 HE Eindhoven
Tel.: +31 402 65 04 64
Fax: +31 402 65 03 02


    Institute of Molecular Biology and Biotechnology
    PO Box 1527
    GR-711 10 Heraklion
    Tel.: +30 81 39 44 05
    Fax: +30 81 39 44 08

  • Nikitas RAGOUSSIS
    Vioryl Chemical and Agricultural Industry, SA
    Viltaniotis Street 36
    GR-145 64 Kifisia-Athens
    Tel.: +30 18 07 46 03
    Fax: +30 18 07 46 81

  • Michal MAZOR
    The Volcani Centre - Agricultural Research Organisation
    PO Box 6
    IL-50250 Bet Dagan
    Tel.: +972 39 68 34 39
    Fax: +972 39 60 47 04
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