Insects2015, 6(2), 409-418; doi:10.3390/insects6020409 (registering DOI) - published 20 April 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The involvement of associative learning cues has been demonstrated in several stages of feeding and food selection. Short neuropeptide F (sNPF), an insect neuropeptide whose effects on feeding behavior have previously been well established, may be one of the factors bridging feeding and learning behavior. Recently, it was shown in Drosophila melanogaster that the targeted reduction of Drome-sNPF transcript levels significantly reduced sugar-rewarded olfactory memory. While Drosophila mainly relies on olfactory perception in its food searching behavior, locust foraging behavior is likely to be more visually orientated. Furthermore, a feeding-dependent regulation of Schgr-sNPF transcript levels has previously been observed in the optic lobes of the locust brain, suggesting a possible involvement in visual perception of food and visual associative memory in this insect species. In this study, we describe the development of a robust and reproducible assay allowing visual associative memory to be studied in the desert locust, Schistocerca gregaria. Furthermore, we performed an exploratory series of experiments, studying the role of Schgr-sNPF in this complex process.
Abstract: Indonesia’s 11-year (1989–1999) National Integrated Pest Management Program was a spectacularly successful example of wide-scale adoption of integrated pest management (IPM) principles and practice in a developing country. This program introduced the innovative Farmer Field School model of agro-ecosystem-based experiential learning, subsequently adapted to different crops and agricultural systems in countries throughout the world. Since the termination of the program in 1999, Indonesia has undergone profound changes as the country enters a new era of democratic reform. Government support for the national IPM program has wavered during this period, and pesticide producers and traders have taken advantage of the policy vacuum to mount an aggressive marketing campaign in the countryside. These factors have contributed to a reappearance of the pesticide-induced resurgent pest problems that led to the establishment of the National IPM Program in the first place.
Abstract: The ability of hosts to respond to infection involves several complex immune recognition pathways. Broadly conserved pathogen-associated molecular patterns (PAMPs) allow individuals to target a range of invading microbes. Recently, studies on insect innate immunity have found evidence that a single pathogen can activate different immune pathways across species. In this study, expression changes in immune genes encoding peptidoglycan-recognition protein SA (PGRP-SA), gram-negative binding protein 1 (GNBP1) and prophenoloxidase (ProPO) were investigated in Locusta migratoria, following an immune challenge using injected lipopolysaccharide (LPS) solution from Escherichia coli. Since immune activation might also be tissue-specific, gene expression levels were followed across a range of tissue types. For PGRP-SA, expression increased in response to LPS within all seven of the tissue-types assayed and differed significantly between tissues. Expression of GNBP1 similarly varied across tissue types, yet showed no clear expression difference between LPS-injected and uninfected locusts. Increases in ProPO expression in response to LPS, however, could only be detected in the gut sections. This study has revealed tissue-specific immune response to add a new level of complexity to insect immune studies. In addition to variation in recognition pathways identified in previous works, tissue-specificity should be carefully considered in similar works.
Abstract: The scientific community working in the field of insect pathology is experiencing an increasing academic and industrial interest in the discovery and development of new bioinsecticides as environmentally friendly pest control tools to be integrated, in combination or rotation, with chemicals in pest management programs. In this scientific context, market data report a significant growth of the biopesticide segment. Acquisition of new technologies by multinational Ag-tech companies is the center of the present industrial environment. This trend is in line with the requirements of new regulations on Integrated Pest Management. After a few decades of research on microbial pest management dominated by Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), novel bacterial species with innovative modes of action are being discovered and developed into new products. Significant cases include the entomopathogenic nematode symbionts Photorhabdus spp. and Xenorhabdus spp., Serratia species, Yersinia entomophaga, Pseudomonas entomophila, and the recently discovered Betaproteobacteria species Burkholderia spp. and Chromobacterium spp. Lastly, Actinobacteria species like Streptomyces spp. and Saccharopolyspora spp.have gained high commercial interest for the production of a variety of metabolites acting as potent insecticides. With the aim to give a timely picture of the cutting-edge advancements in this renewed research field, different representative cases are reported and discussed.
Abstract: Entomopathogenic fungi, when used as a microbial control agent against cotton pests, such as Helicoverpa spp., may have the potential to establish and spread in the environment and to have an impact on both pests and beneficial insects. Information on the effect of entomopathogenic fungi on pests and beneficial insects is crucial for a product to be registered as a biopesticide. The effect of the entomopathogenic fungus BC 639 (Aspergillus sp.) against Helicoverpa spp. and beneficial insects (mostly predatory insects) was studied in the laboratory and in cotton field trials. The results show that when Helicoverpa spp. second instar larvae were exposed to increasing concentrations (from 102 to 109) of the entomopathogenic fungus BC 639, the optimum dose required to kill over 50% of the insects was 1.0 ´ 107 spores/mL. In the field trials, the number of Helicoverpa spp. per metre on plots treated with 1.0 or 0.50 L/ha of BC 639 was the same as on plots treated with the recommended rate of the commercial insecticide, Indoxacarb. However, when plots were treated with 0.25 L/ha of BC 639, this was not as effective at controlling Helicoverpa spp. as 1.0 or 0.5 L/ha BC 639 or Indoxacarb. BC 639 had less effect on predatory insects when applied at lower rates (0.50 and 0.25 L/ha) than at higher rates (1.0 L/ha). Thus, BC 639 was more selective against predators when applied at lower rates than at the higher rate, but was also more selective than Indoxacarb. Thus, the ability of BC 639 to control Helicoverpa spp. effectively with a minimal effect on predatory insects indicates its potential for enhancing integrated pest management programs and to sustain cotton production.
Abstract: Fungus gnats (Bradysia spp.) are major insect pests of greenhouse-grown horticultural crops mainly due to the direct feeding damage caused by the larvae, and the ability of larvae to transmit certain soil-borne plant pathogens. Currently, insecticides and biological control agents are being used successively to deal with fungus gnat populations in greenhouse production systems. However, these strategies may only be effective as long as greenhouse producers also implement alternative management strategies such as cultural, physical, and sanitation. This includes elimination of algae, and plant and growing medium debris; placing physical barriers onto the growing medium surface; and using materials that repel fungus gnat adults. This article describes the disease-interactions associated with fungus gnats and foliar and soil-borne diseases, and the alternative management strategies that should be considered by greenhouse producers in order to alleviate problems with fungus gnats in greenhouse production systems.