Current research projects

Insect Services is currently a project partner in one publicly funded research project.

  1. Project REPEL

Titel: A research infrastructure to identify novel repellents for human and veterinary use.

Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) under the EU program EurostarsTM. Funding indicator: 01QE2154. Running time: 01.10.2021 to 31.03.2024.

Project partner: TropIQ Health Sciences, The Netherlands

There are just a few active repellent ingredients on the world market that only have a limited duration of effectiveness.

In the project, a cross-species test panel is being established to identify novel insect and tick repellents. This is based on a cascade of bioassays in which substances are first screened in a high-throughput procedure on mosquitoes and effective substances are subsequently tested on ticks, bed bugs, fleas and lice. Substances that prove effective there are then tested on other tick and insect species. The screening pipeline as a whole as well as individual bioassays will be evaluated in the course of the project. For this purpose, model repellent molecules are to be successfully identified using the biotest cascade. A small library of molecules, which also contains blinded positive controls, is used for this purpose. The molecules in the library were selected for their repellent potential using artificial intelligence. This screening pipeline is finally evaluated by successfully identifying model repellent molecules via the biotest cascade. The molecules to be tested will be selected for their repellent potential using artificial intelligence and known positive controls will be used as well. At the end of the project, a pipeline for contract research will be established that allows efficient screening of new, potentially repellent substances and is already highly informative with regard to efficacy under practical conditions.

2. Project Dsuzukii-Repell

Titel: Development of a push and pull strategy for the control of Drosophila suzukii using a sprayable matrix and extracts from conifers

Sponsored by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture in the context of the Renewable Resources Promotion Programme. Funding indicator: 2220HV088B. Running time: 01.09.2022-31.08.2025.

Project partner: RLP Agroscience GmbH (Neustadt) and Nanopool GmbH (Schwalbach), Germany

The cherry vinegar fly Drosophila suzukii has spread rapidly throughout Europe and causes considerable damage to orchards and vineyards. D. suzukii females lay their eggs in ripening fruit, the eggs hatch into maggots which initially feed on the fruit flesh. The main damage is caused by larval feeding. Currently, there are no effective control measures for D. suzukii. The aim of the project is therefore to establish an alternative, environmentally friendly control method, a so-called Push&Pull strategy. For this purpose, a plant-friendly SiO2-based sprayable matrix, which polymerises to an extremely thin transparent film, is to be used for applying a repellent scent to host plants and an attractive scent to plants outside the production facilities. In addition, attractant traps containing an attractive as well as selective attractant (fruit extracts) for the cherry vinegar fly are to catch the animals.