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Open AccessArticle

Agar and Carrageenan as Cost-Effective Gelling Agents in Yeast-Reduced Artificial Diets for Mass-Rearing Fruit Flies and Their Parasitoids

Red de Manejo Biorracional de Plagas y Vectores, Clúster Científico y Tecnológico BioMimic®, Instituto de Ecología, A.C., Carretera Antigua a Coatepec 351, El Haya, Xalapa 91073, Veracruz, Mexico
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Insects 2020, 11(2), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects11020131
Received: 5 December 2019 / Revised: 1 February 2020 / Accepted: 9 February 2020 / Published: 18 February 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) and Its Applications)
The development of cost-effective diets for mass-rearing fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) and their parasitoids in pest control programs based on the Sterile Insect Technique is a high priority worldwide. To this end, we tested carrageenan, agar, gelatin and two types of pregelatinized corn starches as gelling agents at varying percentages in a yeast-reduced liquid larval diet for rearing the Mexfly, Anastrepha ludens. Only diets with 0.234% (w/w) agar or 0.424% carrageenan were identified as diets with potential for mass-rearing A. ludens in terms of the number of pupae recovered from the diet, pupal weight, adult emergence, flight ability and diet cost. Comparative experiments showed that yeast-reduced agar and carrageenan gel diets produced heavier pupae and higher proportions of flying adults than the standard mass-rearing diet. The gel-agar and mass-rearing diets produced more pupae than the gel-carrageenan diet, but the latter produced more suitable larvae as hosts for rearing of Diachasmimorpha longicaudata (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) females, a widely used fruit fly biocontrol agent. Yeast-reduced agar and carrageenan gel diets could represent cost-effective fruit fly mass-rearing diets if a practical system for gel diet preparation and dispensation at fruit fly mass-rearing facilities is developed. View Full-Text
Keywords: Anastrepha ludens; insect rearing; diet optimization; sterile insect technique; hymenopterous parasitoids Anastrepha ludens; insect rearing; diet optimization; sterile insect technique; hymenopterous parasitoids
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Pascacio-Villafán, C.; Guillén, L.; Aluja, M. Agar and Carrageenan as Cost-Effective Gelling Agents in Yeast-Reduced Artificial Diets for Mass-Rearing Fruit Flies and Their Parasitoids. Insects 2020, 11, 131.

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