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Qld fruit fly scientists in race against time
Date:6/23/2011

rvest dipping of some crops.

"It is widely expected the use of dimethoate and fenthion is going to be restricted. The loss of these chemicals would be a major problem for fruit growers, particularly fruit and vegetable growers in tropical and subtropical Australia," Professor Clarke said.

"Our research is fundamentally important to ensure that Australia's fruit and vegetable industry continues to be successful."

Professor Clarke said a new insectary lab at QUT's Gardens Point campus will enable researchers to breed and study a pest that costs the economy about $100 million a year in regulatory and control costs and ruined produce.

Research underway at the insectary, which is custom built to maintain conditions suitable for fruit flies, includes:

  • Investigating lure and kill techniques using ginger essence (zingerone) to attract male fruit flies, which are then killed using a small amount of insecticide placed in traps. Zingerone has been found to attract fruit fly species that don't usually respond to lures.
  • Answering fundamental questions about fruit fly ecology, including foraging and mating habits, to better inform growers on pest management.
  • Examining the genetic make-up of fruit flies in regions of the world to determine if there are different species. This research could have major implications for trade.

Research fellow Dr Solomon Balagawi, who is among six researchers and PhD students studying fruit flies at QUT, said the research would help inform growers of best practice to reduce the use of insecticides.

"If fruit flies are a major pest we have to understand their ecology," he said.

"There are fundamental questions we still don't know. Through research we can pass on some recommendations that can be easily adopted by growers to repel fruit flies without relying only on chemical-based treatments."

Professor Clarke said fruit flies, once confined
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Contact: Stephanie Harrington
stephanie.harrington@qut.edu.au
073-138-1150
Queensland University of Technology
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2 3

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