Overseas study trip to expand capabilities in biocontrol mass production, marketing and large-scale uptake (VG08010)
This was a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
Over the past 5 years the Australian protected cropping industry experienced unprecedented growth utilizing investment in high technology structures, with sophisticated environmental controls and hydroponic growing systems. There was a growing demand for integrated pest management (1PM) solutions within this industry, with biological control agents (BCA's) at the forefont of these programs.
The production and packaging systems at the time for BCA's in Australia were developed on
small scales compared to companies overseas which had larger markets, and a longer time frame to develop their techniques. These companies particularly in Europe had a much wider range of BCA's as control options compared to the emerging industry in Australia.
Through this project the researcher was able to meet with biocontrol producers in the UK, Belgium, Netherlands, Spain and Israel to discuss technology advances in mass production, packaging and distribution systems for BCA's. Practices used in the management of large scale biocontrol programs in greenhouse crops were sought also from principal 1PM researchers with an emphasis on development of new biocontrol agents for use in Australia to broaden the range of control options for our vegetable industry. Samples of biocontrol packaging were procured to improve BCA delivery, and packaging machinery viewed to potentially streamline production when needed in the future. Systems for the upgrading of packaging and delivery systems of BCA 's could be implemented in the future as the biocontrol industry expands. At the time these systems were unaffordable for the volume of production within Australia.
Key beneficial organisms now targeted to add to the range of biocontrols produced in Australia included Eretmocerus warrae for greenhouse whitefly, Neoseiulus californicus for Two Spotted mite, and a wider range of Aphid parasitoids starting with Aphelinus abdominalis. These organisms began being collected fom the field in Australia by Biological Services and insectary colonies. Further research and trials were needed over next 1-3 years to develop rearing, packaging, delivery and end use programmes for growers. Biology of Eretmocerus warrae was further studied over next 2 years in the project VG l 0062 which determined its effectiveness under various environmental conditions.
Key information on rearing techniques was also procured during this trip for the production of predatory bugs. This was utilized by Manchil 1PM Services for the project VG08 J 86 - Rearing Orius armatus for the vegetable industry. This information would also be shared with Biocontrol Solutions for their project VG I 0020 Australian mi rid bugs as biocontrol agents.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Biological Services and the vegetables industry.
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