ECO2-TUTA - Ecological and economic feasibility of mass production of biological agents to control tomato moth Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae) in protected culture, in the Azores

PROJECT TITLE:

ECO2-TUTA - Ecological and economic feasibility of mass production of biological agents to control tomato moth Tuta absoluta (Meyrick) (Lepidoptera, Gelechiidae) in protected culture, in the Azores

PROJECT CODE:

ACORES-01-0145-FEDER-000081

 

MAIN GOAL:

This R&D project proposal addresses an innovative idea and concept for Portugal. In a joint collaboration with a private company (Anatis Bioprotection Inc.), we intend to develop a model for assessing the economic and financial viability for the implementation, in the Azores, of a bio-factory producing biological control agents (BCA’s) to control South American tomato moth, to supply the local and the national market. This will be done after researching and testing the most promising native organisms recorded to the Azores and Portugal mainland and presenting potential capacity to be used as BCA’s.

 

BENEFICIARIES: Universidade dos Açores e a Fundação Gaspar Frutuoso

TOTAL AMOUNT: 176.382,60 €

EUROPEAN REGIONAL DEVELOPMENT FUND (ERDF): 149.925,21 €

 

DESCRIPTION:

Following the approval of the Law 26/2013 of 11 April, which regulates the distribution, sale and application of plant protection products (...) and defines the monitoring procedures for the use of plant protection products (transposing the Directive 2009/128 / EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 21 October establishing a framework for Community action to achieve a sustainable use of pesticides, commercial biological control has assumed a major role on sustainable crop production. However, to achieve this goal, ecosystem services provided by native organisms should be seen as viable alternative to control crop pests. The protection of crops by native organisms assumes even greater relevance in insular ecosystems which are particularly sensitive to the loss of biodiversity due to negative impacts from importation and releases of non-native biological control agents.

This project, which is part of RIS3-Açores objectives AGR1 and 3, aims to contribute to i) a sustainable and competitive bio-industries that support the development of an European bio-economy, through the transfer of scientific knowledge and skills in view of increased agricultural productivity and ii) to ecological sustainability of Azorean agroecosystems, plant protection, food security and human health.

This proposal includes six tasks, organized in two components. The first component consists of four tasks viewing: 1) the record of native promising BCA’s associated with T. absoluta, 2) and 3) to evaluate the best biotic and abiotic conditions for mass rearing of the BCA’s, 4) to evaluate synergisms/antagonisms between BCA’s and 5) the efficacy of releases under an augmentative biological control strategy. In the second component, the data collected on the tasks 1 to 3 will be made available to the researchers involved on the task which aims 6) to determine the economic and financial feasibility for implementing the production of biological control agents.

 

RESULTS:

2 Research Meetings; 5 International Papers; 2 National Papers, 2 Oral Communications in Congresses; 2 Technical Reports, 1 Model, 1 Pilot Facility and 2 MSc thesis.

 

PHOTOS: