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Entomologist recognized for exceptional service to California's vegetable industry

RIVERSIDE, Calif. John Trumble, a distinguished professor of entomology at the University of California, Riverside, has been named the recipient of the 2013 Oscar Lorenz Award, which recognizes outstanding accomplishments in research and/or extension education benefiting the California vegetable industry.

Trumble, whose research focuses on both basic and applied problems in agricultural and natural ecosystems, will receive the award at a meeting on the UC Davis campus, in early December, of the UC Vegetable Crops Workgroup. The award is accompanied by a check for $500.

Trumble has provided exceptional service to the state's vegetable industry for more than 30 years. He has been actively developing integrated pest management (IPM) programs and conducting economic analyses of the cost benefits of IPM versus chemical standard programs. A constant effort of his has been to reduce the use of the most toxic insecticides and maximize the use of biocontrol and plant resistance strategies.

He was successful in the 1980s and 1990s in developing IPM programs for fresh market tomatoes, strawberries and celery that are still in use today. In strawberries, he helped develop an economically viable approach for using a predaceous mite for controlling the two-spotted spider mite.

In the early 2000s the California tomato industry was severely damaged by the introduction of a new thrips that caused crop losses exceeding 80 percent. Trumble developed new IPM strategies using compounds with low mammalian toxicity which were widely adopted.

As part of his research efforts he documented the presence of linear furanocoumarins in celery challenged by various environmental factors and determined how best to avoid problems with these undesirable defensive chemicals (they cause contact dermatitis and are implicated in some cancers). His work allowed breeders to reduce the production of the linear furanocoumarins before such lines could be released.

He is currently working on yet another new insect pest in California, the potato psyllid. This is a major pest throughout the central United States, and has become a significant new problem for California on potatoes, tomatoes and peppers. His research resulted in effective IPM protocols for this insect, including sampling strategies, pesticide use programs designed to reduce pesticide resistance, enhanced biocontrol, and plant resistance approaches.

He has also investigated plant compensation for insect herbivory, evolutionary aspects of host plant selection by insect larvae, and the spatial distribution of insects within plants and fields. All of these accomplishments have contributed to the success of California's vegetable industry.

Given by the Department of Plant Sciences at UC Davis, the Oscar Lorenz Award is named for a professor emeritus of vegetable crops at UC Davis, who died in 1994. The award is generously funded by his family. Lorenz worked extensively on many vegetable crops the potato crop in particular and was a pioneer in defining plant-mineral nutrient relationships.


Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
University of California - Riverside

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