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UC Riverside scientists release natural enemy of Asian citrus psyllid
Date:12/21/2011

at the University of Agriculture in Faisalabad (UAF), Pakistan. According to Hoddle, UAF was an ideal base for the project because it had citrus research plots infested with ACP that had not been treated with insecticides. The university is also situated near local commercial citrus production, the area has a climate similar to citrus-growing regions of California, and the university's vice chancellor is a UCR alumnus who also has an active research program on Huanglongbing in Pakistan.

In March and April 2011, Hoddle spent four weeks at UAF to set up research plots in kinnow and sweet orange trees. Coincidentally, kinnow is a mandarin that was bred at UCR in 1935 and accounts for 85 percent of citrus produced in the Punjab. Hoddle and his Pakistani colleagues collected 24 male and 56 female Tamarixia radiata, which were brought back to UCR to establish colonies.

At UCR, the colonies of Asian citrus psyllid and their natural enemies are double caged, kept in secure rooms. Workers wear coveralls, which are removed in designated changing rooms once work is completed for the day.

Hoddle returned from a June 2011 trip to Pakistan with 151 male and 255 female Tamarixia radiata. An October and November 2011 visit netted another 800 parasitic wasps.

"Gathering insects from citrus plants in the Punjab generated an immense amount of curiosity," he said. "Kids in particular were super-curious about what we were doing, where we had come from and why we had come to Pakistan. The people in the Punjab were incredibly courteous, polite and generous."

Hoddle has trained a Pakistani graduate student at UAF to monitor the interaction of the ACP with its natural enemies in their native environment. The researchers will determine whether other natural enemies of the pest could provide additional biological control of California ACP in the future.


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Contact: Iqbal Pittalwala
iqbal@ucr.edu
951-827-6050
University of California - Riverside
Source:Eurekalert  

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