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Identification and provision of potential semiochemical tools for use in integrated crop management - PS2101

Description
The main objective of the proposed strategic research is to identify and provide semiochemicals, i.e. chemicals that control pest or natural enemy behaviour and development or act as signals to switch on defence effects in plants, as alternatives to conventional pesticides. By influencing the colonisation of crop plants and subsequent pest population dynamics, semiochemicals can thereby be used to disrupt or direct pests away from the crop and attract them to areas where they can be controlled (the “push-pull” strategy). Semiochemicals act through behavioural mechanisms rather than by toxicity and thus offer benign means of crop protection with which to minimise, supplement, or in the long-term replace, use of broad-spectrum pesticides in Integrated Pest Management (IPM). Chemically-based interactions between plants and other plants or microorganisms can similarly suppress weeds or diseases. In lower input systems, including organic farming, the use of semiochemicals complements the greater exploitation of biological control agents, selective pesticides and pest-resistant cultivars.

This Project provides the scientific foundation for studies developing the practical use of semiochemicals such as PS2105 (Delivery of semiochemicals) and PS2107 (Framework for development), and collaborative LINK projects. It will explore new semiochemicals and plant stress chemicals as alternative plant protection technology and deliver all semiochemical materials for laboratory assessment, semi-field scale and field scale trials necessary for these two associated projects. The research is intended to identify new plant stress signals that can act as plant activators and investigate the combined role of pheromones and other semiochemicals in host plant location and avoidance of unsuitable potential hosts, in pests and their natural enemies. It will also determine the potential value of exploiting rhizosphere allelopathy (interplant beneficial or detrimental effects) to develop a broader semiochemical approach to crop protection, including suppression of diseases, weeds and soil-borne pests. Besides feeding in directly to the associated projects (PS2105, PS2107) and AR0302 (Integrated management of pests and beneficial organisms on oilseed rape) and AR0305 (Utilising populations of natural enemies for control of aphids), new strategies for exploiting insect predators and parasites, via semiochemical tools, will be taken forward through arable and horticultural LINK programmes.

The research will contribute to Defra’s policy objectives of minimising the use of conventional pesticides and promoting sustainable, adaptable and cost-effective arable and horticultural crop production methods which meet consumer requirements for a safe food supply chain and environmentally-responsible growing systems.

Objective
1. Identify new plant stress signals that can act as plant activators and determine effects up to the third trophic level.2. Define host plant location and avoidance of unsuitable potential hosts so as to identify new semiochemicals. In addition to pests, this will also include parasitoids and predators.3. Determine the potential value of exploiting rhizosphere allelopathy, in controlling soil-pest/plant interactions, and suppressing competitive weeds.4. Identify new strategies for exploiting insect predators and parasitoids via semiochemical tools.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Identification and provision of potential semiochemical tools for use in integrated crop management   (2804k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2003

To: 2006

Cost: £1,383,750
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Rothamsted Research (BBSRC)
Keywords
Arable Farming              
Crop Pests              
Crops              
Farming              
Technology Transfer              
Fields of Study
Pesticide Safety