Parts of Australia's fruit and vegetable industry are under threat, with Queensland University of Technology (QUT) scientists racing to find new ways to control a major horticultural pest before chemical treatments are restricted.
Associate Professor Anthony Clarke, from QUT's Faculty of Science and Technology in Brisbane, is leading Australia's largest team of university researchers examining non-chemical based ways to fight fruit flies, including promising "lure and kill" techniques using ginger essence.
Professor Clarke, lead author of the largest ever review of Queensland fruit fly research recently published in the international journal Annals of Applied Biology, said there were major gaps in the research of this destructive Australian pest.
"Most research has not focused on issues related to the control of the fruit fly," he said.
"While we have very detailed information about select aspects of the insect's biology, much knowledge of the organism's general biology and ecology, particularly information crucial to developing sustainable pest management options, is largely lacking."
The Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority (APVMA) is reviewing the use of dimethoate and fenthion, which are insecticides used for fruit fly control, because of possible human health and environmental concerns. The chemicals are banned or have restricted use in Europe and the USA.
A draft report, scheduled for release by mid-year, is expected to restrict or possibly ban uses of these chemicals in Australia.
The APVMA previously said any changes to existing uses of dimethoate and fenthion for fruit fly control could have a significant impact, affecting the whole fresh fruit and vegetable supply chain.
The insecticides are used in Australia to treat commercially grown fruits and vegetables such as apples, avocados, capsicums, eggplants, strawberries and stone fruit, including post-ha
|Contact: Stephanie Harrington|
Queensland University of Technology