Improving the efficacy of biocontrols
By Dave Harrison
Feb. 25, 2015 – Can you use natural genetic variation of indigenous natural enemies to improve the efficiency of biological control?
This is the query that BINGO (Breeding Invertebrates for Next Generation biocontrol) aims to answer.
Koppert Biological Systems is taking part in this international research project.
The project aims to improve the production and performance of indigenous natural enemies through selective breeding. This entails selecting and cross-breeding natural enemies with specific, desired characteristics to create species that are more efficient. It will ultimately reduce the dependence on chemical crop protection products and contribute towards food safety.
Selective breeding that has been used in both crop production and stock farming for centuries is still in its infancy when it comes to the natural enemies of agricultural pests. The research will contribute towards the biological control of new pests by ensuring that the agricultural sector is less dependent on exotic enemies that might threaten the local biodiversity.
Besides selective breeding and the use of genetic information in natural enemy production, BINGO is expected to develop state-of-the art genomic techniques to refine the production of natural enemies and speed up this process.
RESEARCH INTO PHYTOSEIULUS PERSIMILIS
Koppert is the biggest producer of natural enemies and a pioneer when it comes to biological crop protection. This makes its participation in BINGO a logical step. An international doctoral student will be starting a four-year research project at Koppert on Spidex, the spider mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis, which happens to be the first natural enemy the company produced.
BINGO is a Wageningen University initiative. The program will train 13 young researchers from various universities, non-profit organizations and businesses from nine European countries.
BINGO has a budget of 3.3 million euro. It has been financed by the EU Horizon 2020 programme for research into innovation and the European Commission’s Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN).