Current research projects

Insect Services is currently a project partner in one publicly funded research project. The project focusses on the development of a monitoring system and a biological control method for disease-transmitting psyllids. The project is funded by the German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food (BLE, Innovationsförderung, Deutsche Innovationspartnerschaft Agrar, Landwirtschaftliche Rentenbank) as well as by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL).

Plant diseases which are caused by bacteria (phytoplasmas) are of great relevance for agriculture. The most important phytoplasmoses in fruit production are Apple Proliferation (AP), Pear Decline (PD) and European Stone Fruit Yellows (ESFY). These diseases have severe consequences for European fruit production and regularly cause high yield losses. Apple Proliferation alone caused yield losses equaling almost 25 Mio euros in German apple production in 2001. The other two diseases also cause severe damage. Direct treatment of the bacteria is impossible. In order to protect the plants, the insect vectors have to be controled. In our latitudes, Apple Proliferation is transmitted by (the psyllid Cacopsylla picta), whereas Pear Decline may be transmitted by three different psyllid species (C. pyri, C. pyricola, C. pyrisuga) European Stone Fruit Yellows is distributed solely by (C. pruni).

The aim of the project is the development of new, innovative biotechnical methods for the monitoring and control of the vector insects. These processes shall be adjusted for practical use and could thus contribute to a reduced use of conventional crop protection agents. The focus of investigations lies on the chemical communication between the involved organisms: the fruit trees, the phytoplasmas and the vector insects.

Project PICTA-KILL

Title: Development of novel formulations for behaviour-manipulating strategies for the biological control of Cacopsylla picta, the vector insect of apple proliferation phytoplasma.

Funded by the German Federal Office for Agriculture and Food
Project duration: 15th January 2017 until 14th March 2021

Projectpartners: FH Bielefeld (University of Applied Sciences), Fachbereich Ingenieurwissenschaften und Mathematik, AG Fermentation und Formulierung von Zellen und Wirkstoffen, Julius Kühn-Institut Dossenheim, Bundesforschungsinstitut für Kulturpflanzen, Institut für Pflanzenschutz in Obst- und Weinbau, Biocare Gesellschaft für Biologische Schutzmittel mbH