Energy News  





. Balkan States Consider Sterile Insect Technique Against Mediterranean Fruit Fly

Medflies caught on a trap in the Neretva Valley in Croatia. Fly trapping is one means used to collect data about the Medfly population before SIT can be introduced. (Photo: R. Pereira/IAEA)
by Staff Writers
Vienna, Austria (SPX) Jan 27, 2009
Fruit farmers in Southern Europe have been struggling for decades in a losing battle against the Mediterranean fruit fly, or Medfly, which is one of the worldīs most destructive farm pests, since it lays its eggs in fruit and vegetables.

The female can produce up to 800 offspring per season. The larvae or worms feed on the pulp of fruits, tunnelling through it, and reducing the fruit to an inedible mush.

The battle waged by farmers in Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina against the Medfly has been fought since the 1940s with insecticides. But the growing export market in the European Union imposes strict rules on pesticide residue limits in food.

So in 2007 Croatia turned to the IAEA for help to apply the most environmentally friendly alternative to insecticide - the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT). There are plans to start implementation next year.

SIT involves the sterilization of factory-reared male insects by irradiation. Millions of sterile males are hatched and then released into infested areas. When they mate with females in the wild, no offspring are produced, thereby gradually reducing and in some situations even eradicating the population. The technique is particularly effective in a confined area such as the Neretva Valley, which runs across the borders of Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina, where the migration of flies from outside into the valley is reduced.

This valley produces 80 percent of Croatiaīs clementines for export. Thirty percent of them are infested by Medflies. Across the border Bosniaīs small farmers who grow peaches and plums also struggle with Medfly infestation.

"National borders mean nothing to the Medfly, so these two countries are working together on this control project which has an SIT component," says Rui Cardoso Pereira an Entomologist in the IAEAīs Insect Pest Control Section.

The Medfly, which is slightly smaller than a common housefly, originated in Africa and is now a global pest found in over 85 countries in tropical and subtropical regions.

It infests some 50 different types of fruit in the Neretva River Valley. "This area is what we call the northern limit," says Mr. Pereira. "Itīs close enough to the coastal areas where the winter temperatures arenīt low enough to kill the Medfly. And this helps sustain the population, which has been wreaking havoc on plants here since the 1940s."

SIT, when integrated with other control measures, has proven to be an effective weapon against the Medfly, resulting in total eradication of this pest in Mexico, Chile and the USA. Southern Argentina, parts of Guatemala and Southern Peru have also been declared Medfly-free as a result of using this technique. Increasingly, SIT is also being used to suppress Medfly populations to acceptable levels in many regions around the world.

In the Neretva Valley project suppression is the objective as well. SIT implementation will not only dramatically cut the use of pesticides, but increase yields and the quality of available produce.

But it isnīt a quick-fix.

"Implementing this technology takes longer than insecticide application," says Mr. Pereira. "Croatia took the first two years just to collect baseline data. Not only do we need to collect statistics and do feasibility studies, but we also need to test whether or not the wild females will mate with the sterile males we are going to release. Also, to find out when the first flies appear after each winter period is key to engaging in well-oriented suppression of this pest," he said. Bosnia and Herzegovina began feasibility assessments into its Medfly population in January 2009.

"With the full involvement of the fruit industry in the valley, our counterparts in Croatia plan to begin releasing some sterile Medflies into the area in 2010," Mr. Pereira says. "Our efforts will be a success if we bring down the infestation rate in Croatia in 2011 and if crop yields increase for the poor small farmers in Bosnia and Herzegovina who are still recovering from the war."

Share This Article With Planet Earth
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit
YahooMyWebYahooMyWeb GoogleGoogle FacebookFacebook



Related Links
IAEA
Farming Today - Suppliers and Technology




Tempur-Pedic Mattress Comparison

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News
World must double food production by 2050: FAO chief
Madrid (AFP) Jan 26, 2009
Global food production, already under strain from the credit crunch, must double by 2050 to head off mass hunger, the head of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organisation said on Monday.

.
Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
  



  • Analysis: Oil and Gas Pipeline Watch
  • Renewable energy agency set up in Germany
  • Oil spill in Russian Far East kills hundreds of birds: reports
  • Analysis: Turkmen pipeline security

  • Siemens gives up stake in Areva
  • Slovakia cancels decision to relaunch nuclear reactor: minister
  • Bulgaria presses EU on re-opening of nuclear reactors
  • Siemens planning to give up stake in Areva: source

  • Americans Owe Five Months Of Their Lives To Cleaner Air
  • Does Global Warming Lead To A Change In Upper Atmospheric Transport
  • Greenhouse gas emissions study released
  • Research Into Fair-Weather Clouds Important In Climate Predictions

  • Wood worth more than money at Mexican market
  • New Study Links Western Tree Mortality To Warming Temperatures, Water Stress
  • Tree Deaths Have Doubled Across The Western US
  • Philippines orders South Korean firm to design hotel around trees

  • Industrialization Of China Increases Fragility Of Global Food Supply
  • Balkan States Consider Sterile Insect Technique Against Mediterranean Fruit Fly
  • Nile Delta Fishery Grows Dramatically
  • Sierra Leone mans defences against army worm invasion

  • Obama announces new measures to spur fuel efficient cars
  • Obama to let states restrict emissions standards
  • Over 91,000 killed in China in accidents in 2008: report
  • Ford starts making Fiesta in China

  • New Turbines Can Cut Fuel Consumption For Business Jets
  • Air China expects to post 'significant loss' for 2008
  • Nations demand climate plan from air, maritime industries
  • Heathrow expansion to get green light despite protests: reports

  • Nuclear Power In Space - Part 2
  • Nuclear Power In Space
  • Outside View: Nuclear future in space

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2007 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement