Sustainable Strategies for the Control of Crop Diseases and Pests to Reduce Pesticides

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Pest and Disease Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2024 | Viewed by 26324

Special Issue Editors


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Centro de Investigação das Ferrugens do Cafeeiro (CIFC), Linking Landscape, Environment, Agriculture and Food Research Center (LEAF), Associated Laboratory TERRA, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Universidade de Lisboa, Lisbon, Portugal
Interests: plant pathology; plant–microbe interactions; coffee leaf rust; coffee berry disease; plant defense responses; microbial mechanisms of pathogenicity
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Guest Editor
Cenicafé, Centro Nacional de Investigaciones de Café, Federcafé, Manizales, Colombia
Interests: entomology; insect–coffee plant interactions; insect-entomopathogenic fungi interactions; gene bioprospecting; biotechnology breeding and gene editing of plants and fungi; coffee tissue culture; coffee fermentation

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Crop diseases and pests may cause considerable yield losses and threaten food supply and security. Moreover, there is clear evidence that the geographical distribution of several pathogens and pests is expanding due to climate changes and increasing global trade.

Regular ways of pest and disease control based only on the use of synthetic pesticides are no longer effective or sustainable because their intensive application negatively affects the environment, human health, and biodiversity. Moreover, one of the challenges is the development of resistance in pests and pathogens toward these pesticides, making them less efficient or not efficient at all. Thus, to ensure better control and ecological sustainability, it is crucial to reduce pesticides by adopting alternative strategies to maintain the pest/pathogen populations below the economic injury level and toward reaching the European Green Deal.

In this Special Issue, we welcome original research articles and reviews addressing the current research advances on major diseases and pests of various crops along with appropriate and innovative control methods to minimize the impacts and risks of pesticides in order to reach a resource-efficient and competitive agriculture.

Dr. Maria Céu Lavado da Silva
Dr. Carmenza E. Góngora
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • integrated pest and disease management
  • decision-support systems
  • competitive agriculture
  • impact of climate change
  • resistance breeding
  • biological control
  • cultural practices
  • plant resistance inducers
  • mechanisms of plant resistance/tolerance

Published Papers (19 papers)

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16 pages, 314 KiB  
Article
Impact of Three Entomopathogenic Fungal Isolates on the Growth of Tomato Plants—Ectoapplication to Explore Their Effect on Tetranychus urticae
by Waqas Wakil, Maria C. Boukouvala, Nickolas G. Kavallieratos, Aqsa Naeem, Muhammad Usman Ghazanfar and Saleh S. Alhewairini
Agronomy 2024, 14(4), 665; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14040665 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 919
Abstract
Tetranychus urticae is an important pest of tomato crops globally, affecting plant yield and growth. Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium robertsii have the potential to control T. urticae. We investigated the influence of two B. bassiana (i.e., WG-12 and WG-19) isolates and one [...] Read more.
Tetranychus urticae is an important pest of tomato crops globally, affecting plant yield and growth. Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium robertsii have the potential to control T. urticae. We investigated the influence of two B. bassiana (i.e., WG-12 and WG-19) isolates and one M. robertsii (WG-02) isolate when colonizing different plant organs (leaves, stems, and roots) and their influence on the growth of tomato plants, through foliar, root-dipping, and seed-soaking application techniques. We also examined the acaricidal activity of the three isolates against T. urticae (female adults), spraying tomato leaf discs with each isolate separately. After 28 days, WG-12 and WG-19 colonized 97 and 91% of the leaves after foliar inoculation, whereas WG-02 exhibited the lowest leaf colonization (76%). The height of the tomato plants, the root length, the number of leaves, and the weight of the biomass above and below the ground were enhanced significantly after inoculation with WG-02 vs. B. bassiana isolates and control. The complete mortality of T. urticae was caused by WG-12 and WG-02 after 10 days, whereas WG-19 killed 94% of the adults. For the effective management of T. urticae, we propose the application of the WG-02 isolate since it provides complete protection and promotes the growth of tomato plants. Full article
13 pages, 4159 KiB  
Article
Electrolyzed Oxidizing Water in Controlling Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato in Tomato Crops
by Lilia Mexicano, Tarsicio Medina, Adriana Mexicano and Jesús-Carlos Carmona
Agronomy 2024, 14(3), 597; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14030597 - 16 Mar 2024
Viewed by 442
Abstract
Bacterial speck disease in tomato crops is caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. Chemical control is mainly used for the control of phytopathogens, which carries a risk for both human health and the environment, making it necessary to search for environmentally friendly [...] Read more.
Bacterial speck disease in tomato crops is caused by Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato. Chemical control is mainly used for the control of phytopathogens, which carries a risk for both human health and the environment, making it necessary to search for environmentally friendly alternatives, such as the use of electrolyzed water. In the present study, preventive treatments were applied to tomato plants of the saladette variety. The treatments employed were electrolyzed oxidizing water (EOW), electrolyzed reduced water (ERW), a commercial bactericide (Kasumin), and untreated plants as the base control. During the vegetative stage, the disease severity, stem diameter, number of leaves, and number of clusters were determined. In addition, the soluble solids (°Brix), titratable acidity (TA), pH, color, polar and equatorial diameter, weight, and weight loss of the harvested fruit were determined. According to the results, the lowest severity was obtained in the plants treated with oxidizing water, achieving results similar to those achieved with the commercial bactericide Kasumin. It can be concluded that oxidizing water can be applied to tomato crops since its effect is similar to that of Kasumin, but without affecting the growth and development of the crop. Moreover, it is environmentally friendly. Full article
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20 pages, 5415 KiB  
Article
Smilax aspera L. Leaf and Fruit Extracts as Antibacterial Agents for Crop Protection
by Riccardo Fontana, Eva Sánchez-Hernández, Pablo Martín-Ramos, Jesús Martín-Gil and Peggy Marconi
Agronomy 2024, 14(2), 383; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14020383 - 16 Feb 2024
Viewed by 685
Abstract
Smilax aspera L. (commonly known as sarsaparilla) is recognized for its composition rich in flavonoids, phenylpropanoids, steroidal saponins, stilbenoids, and tannins, exhibiting anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, and antimicrobial properties. This study investigates the hydromethanolic extracts of its leaves and fruits through vibrational spectroscopy and gas [...] Read more.
Smilax aspera L. (commonly known as sarsaparilla) is recognized for its composition rich in flavonoids, phenylpropanoids, steroidal saponins, stilbenoids, and tannins, exhibiting anti-inflammatory, cytotoxic, and antimicrobial properties. This study investigates the hydromethanolic extracts of its leaves and fruits through vibrational spectroscopy and gas chromatography–mass spectrometry, evaluating their potential as biorationals for safeguarding crops. Analysis of S. aspera leaf and fruit extracts revealed the presence of phytochemicals such as lactones and other furan derivatives. In vitro assessments against three phytopathogens—Erwinia amylovora, Pseudomonas syringae pv. actinidiae, and Xanthomonas campestris pv. campestris—demonstrated strong antibacterial activity, with minimum inhibitory concentration (MIC) values of 1500 μg·mL−1 for both extracts. Biofilm tests indicated that the leaf extract reduced biofilm formation by 78–85%, while the fruit extract led to a reduction of 73–92.5%. At a concentration of 750 µg·mL−1, the extracts caused a decrease in amylovoran synthesis by 41–58%. Additionally, noticeable alterations in membrane permeability were observed at MIC and MIC/2 doses. Subsequent in vivo trials conducted on Pyrus communis L. trees utilizing the combined aerial part extract yielded substantial protection against E. amylovora at a dose of 1500 μg·mL−1, reaching 80% wilting reduction for the leaf extract. The findings presented herein cast S. aspera extracts as a promising natural-based treatment against these bacterial phytopathogens. Full article
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17 pages, 2230 KiB  
Article
Integrated Management of Clubroot in Zhejiang Province, China
by Yi Zhang, Hongrui Yu, Tong Zhao, Iqbal Hussain, Xinyan Ma, Yuqi Wang, Kaiwen Liu, Nairan Sun and Xiaolin Yu
Agronomy 2024, 14(2), 377; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14020377 - 15 Feb 2024
Viewed by 656
Abstract
Clubroot, caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae, is a destructive soil-borne disease significantly harming global Brassica crop production. This study employed the Williams and European Clubroot Differential (ECD) and Williams systems to identify the pathotypes of P. brassicae collected from Hangzhou City, Yuhang District and [...] Read more.
Clubroot, caused by Plasmodiophora brassicae, is a destructive soil-borne disease significantly harming global Brassica crop production. This study employed the Williams and European Clubroot Differential (ECD) and Williams systems to identify the pathotypes of P. brassicae collected from Hangzhou City, Yuhang District and Quzhou City, Kaihua County in Zhejiang Province. Greenhouse and field trials were conducted to evaluate the effects of plastic film covering and four chemical agents on the growth parameters and clubroot severity of the Chinese cabbage cultivar ‘Granaat’. Potential treatment mechanisms on clubroot were explored through a qPCR analysis of the resting spore density and pH measurement of the soil. Furthermore, treatment with 1-napthaleneacetic acid (NAA), a synthetic auxin, was also evaluated for its potential role in suppressing clubroot. The results indicate that the pathotypes of P. brassicae in the two districts were P1, ECD20/31/12, and P3, ECD20/15/4. While an individual application of plastic film covering could not effectively control clubroot, calcium cyanamid, dazomet and ammonium bicarbonate demonstrated significant efficacy in its management. These three agents significantly reduced the resting spore density in the soil, with calcium cyanamid and ammonium bicarbonate also increasing soil alkalinity. Additionally, ammonium bicarbonate promotes lateral root development in ‘Granaat,’ helping infected plants access adequate water and nutrients. However, NAA exhibited no efficacy in clubroot control. Therefore, sustained lateral root development is crucial for effectively resisting P. brassicae invasion. Considering application costs and environmental friendliness, we propose the field application of ammonium bicarbonate as the optimal method for clubroot disease management in Zhejiang Province. Full article
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9 pages, 870 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Entomopathogenic Nematodes in Oil Emulsions to Control Scyphophorus acupunctatus in Agave under Laboratory Conditions
by Hector Osvaldo Ahedo-Quero, Yolanda Donají Ortiz-Hernández, Teodulfo Aquino-Bolaños and Marco Aurelio Acevedo-Ortiz
Agronomy 2023, 13(12), 2946; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13122946 - 29 Nov 2023
Viewed by 751
Abstract
The weevil Scyphophorus acupunctatus Gyllenhal causes damage and losses in agave crops and has traditionally been controlled using contact and systemic agrochemicals. Implementing microbial control strategies is proposed as an alternative to mitigate the environmental impact associated with agrochemicals. The objective of this [...] Read more.
The weevil Scyphophorus acupunctatus Gyllenhal causes damage and losses in agave crops and has traditionally been controlled using contact and systemic agrochemicals. Implementing microbial control strategies is proposed as an alternative to mitigate the environmental impact associated with agrochemicals. The objective of this study was to determine the survival of entomopathogenic nematodes in oil emulsions for the control of adult S. acupunctatus. Three species of entomopathogenic nematodes were evaluated: Steinernema carpocapsae, S. glaseri, and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora. We used two concentrations (50 ± 5 and 100 ± 10 infectious juvenile nematodes), and oil emulsions derived from Salvia hispanica, Triticum vulgare, and Olea europea with oil purity of 20% and 40%. The effectiveness of these treatments was assessed by determining the mortality rate of S. acupunctatus. The results indicate that the combination of S. glaseri and H. bacteriophora, at concentrations of 50 ± 5 and 100 ± 10 nematodes, respectively, with T. vulgare and O. europea oils, achieved a mortality rate of 85.76% in S. acupunctatus adults at 24 h. At 120 h, a mortality rate of 100% was achieved with specific formulations, such as S. glaseri with 100 ± 10 nematodes + O. europea, and H. bacteriophora with 100 ± 10 nematodes + O. europea. Consequently, we conclude that oil formulations combined with nematodes show potential as an effective and environmentally friendly alternative for the control and management of S. acupunctatus. Full article
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11 pages, 2483 KiB  
Article
Establishment of Alfalfa Intercropped under Corn in Response to Varying Rates of Prohexadione with or without Fungicide Plus Insecticide
by John H. Grabber, José Luiz C. S. Dias and Mark J. Renz
Agronomy 2023, 13(11), 2823; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13112823 - 15 Nov 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 713
Abstract
Establishment of interseeded alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) under corn (Zea mays L.) silage is enhanced with foliar applications of prohexadione (PHD) followed by fungicide plus insecticide (FI), but the lowest effective rates must be determined. We evaluated stand characteristics of alfalfa [...] Read more.
Establishment of interseeded alfalfa (Medicago sativa L.) under corn (Zea mays L.) silage is enhanced with foliar applications of prohexadione (PHD) followed by fungicide plus insecticide (FI), but the lowest effective rates must be determined. We evaluated stand characteristics of alfalfa interseeded into corn at Arlington, Wisconsin, USA in response to PHD applied at 0 to 0.423 kg a.e. ha−1 followed two weeks later with FI (none vs. 0.147 kg a.i. ha−1 fluxapyroxad-pyraclostrobin plus 0.018 kg a.i. ha−1 lambda-cyhalothrin). Application of PHD reduced etiolation, while FI treatment increased plant health and vigor. Following corn harvest, non-treated alfalfa stands averaged 4.2 plants m−2 and 1.2% groundcover under wet growing conditions in 2019 compared with 71.3 plants m−2 and 15.9% groundcover under normal growing conditions in 2020. Stand density in 2019 reached 130 plants m−2 but failed to plateau with combined PHD-FI treatments, while in 2020, stand density averaged 177 plants m−2 with FI regardless of the PHD rate. Alfalfa groundcover plateaued at 63% in 2019 and 71% in 2020 when 0.16 to 0.30 kg a.e. PHD ha−1 was applied prior to FI. The results indicate that FI enables excellent alfalfa establishment under normal conditions, but both PHD and FI should be applied during wet growing conditions. Full article
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17 pages, 4334 KiB  
Article
Inhibition of the Growth of Botrytis cinerea by Penicillium chrysogenum VKM F-4876D Combined with Fludioxonil-, Difenoconazole-, or Tebuconazole-Based Fungicides
by Amjad Hatem, Vera Yaderets, Nataliya Karpova, Elena Glagoleva, Alexander Ovchinnikov, Kseniya Petrova, Alexandra Shibaeva and Vakhtang Dzhavakhiya
Agronomy 2023, 13(10), 2602; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13102602 - 12 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1105
Abstract
Botrytis cinerea, causing grey mold, is a dangerous plant pathogen able to infect agricultural crops during the whole production cycle, including storage and transportation. A wide set of pathogenicity factors, high ecological plasticity, and universality of propagation and spreading of this fungus significantly [...] Read more.
Botrytis cinerea, causing grey mold, is a dangerous plant pathogen able to infect agricultural crops during the whole production cycle, including storage and transportation. A wide set of pathogenicity factors, high ecological plasticity, and universality of propagation and spreading of this fungus significantly complicate the control of this pathogen. A rapid increase in pathogen tolerance to fungicides dictates the necessity of developing antiresistant protection strategies, which include the use of biopreparations based on antagonistic microorganisms or their metabolites. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the antifungal activity of a dry biomass of P. chrysogenum VKM F-4876D (DMP), both individually and in combination with tebuconazole-, fludioxonil-, or difenoconazole-containing compounds recommended to control grey mold, in relation to B. cinerea isolated from grape samples. A water suspension of DMP was added to the PDA medium at a concentration of 1.0, 2.5, 5.0, 7.5, and 10.0 g/L. The pathogen growth inhibition was evaluated after 3, 7, and 14 days of cultivation; fungal cultures grown on DMP-free medium were used as a control. The resulting effective DMP concentration was 2.5 g/L. The effective concentrations of fungicides included in the study were determined to be 0.5 mg/L (tebuconazole), 0.1 g/L (difenoconazole), and 0.04 mg/L (fludioxonil). Combining DMP (2.5 g/L) with tebuconazole, difenoconazole, or fludioxonil (all taken at the effective concentrations) resulted in pathogen growth inhibition after 7 days of incubation by 86.5, 85.6, and 84.6%, respectively. Among all studied variants, the DMP (2.5 g/L) + difenoconazole (1.0 mg/L) combination provided the most efficient control of B. cinerea development under in vitro conditions: even after 14 days of incubation, the pathogen growth suppression remained at the level of 51.3%, whereas the DMP combination with tebuconazole or fludioxonil provided only 28.5 and 37.4%, respectively. The obtained results show good prospects for the efficient control of grey mold development, together with the reduction of pesticide loads on agrobiocoenoses and the prevention of the emergence of new resistant forms of plant pathogens. Full article
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12 pages, 1026 KiB  
Article
An Effect and Less Spraying Control Method Successfully Controls Botrytis cinerea on Grapes in China
by Hui Wang, Mei Liu, Wei Zhang, Jiye Yan, Xingmin Tang, Jorge Antonio Sanchez-Molina and Xinghong Li
Agronomy 2023, 13(10), 2578; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13102578 - 08 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 998
Abstract
Gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea is a destructive disease in grapes. Although the preharvest use of pesticides can control it, fungicide resistance in B. cinerea is now common. We used an Effect and Less Spraying Control (ELSC) method for applying fungicides effective [...] Read more.
Gray mold caused by Botrytis cinerea is a destructive disease in grapes. Although the preharvest use of pesticides can control it, fungicide resistance in B. cinerea is now common. We used an Effect and Less Spraying Control (ELSC) method for applying fungicides effective against B. cinerea on grapes. The spraying schedule was determined by exploring the key stages of B. cinerea invasion using field and in vitro inoculation tests. The results indicated that the stage most vulnerable to pathogen invasion is the full-bloom stage. The disease incidence/severity in this stage is highest compared with the pre-bloom, 10-days-after-full-bloom, bunch-closure and veraison stages. Given the inoculation results and the threat of residual infected petals, the ELSC method established an optimum spray schedule at full bloom and 10 days after full bloom. To evaluate the ELSC method, four kinds of fungicides were used in an experimental trial in Beijing in 2015 and 2017; Shanghai in 2016; and Hebei in 2019 and 2021. Fludioxonil was the most effective fungicide, followed by Pythium oligandrum (bio-fungicide), difenoconazole + azoxystrobin and pyraclostrobin. ELSC was more effective against B. cinerea than the traditional control schedule, when comparing the disease severity (i.e., 0.07 ± 0.10% in ELSC and 0.49 ± 0.014% in the traditional practice when using fludioxonil). The average yield per hectare in ELSC confirmed that spraying during flowering does not have a deleterious effect on grape yield. It produced a 1224.37 00 kg/ha greater yield than the control group when fludioxonil was applied. Full article
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13 pages, 10186 KiB  
Article
A Method for Selection of Coffee Varieties Resistant to Fusarium stilboides
by Getrude Okutoyi Alworah, Joshua Ondura Ogendo, Joseph Juma Mafurah, Elijah Kathurima Gichuru, Douglas Watuku Miano and Otieno Oliver Okumu
Agronomy 2023, 13(9), 2321; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13092321 - 05 Sep 2023
Viewed by 935
Abstract
Fusarium bark disease (FBD) of coffee caused by Fusarium stilboides Steyaert has been associated with yield losses and tree death in coffee-growing countries, including Kenya. Varietal resistance is of utmost importance in managing the disease, and the continued increase in host resistance is [...] Read more.
Fusarium bark disease (FBD) of coffee caused by Fusarium stilboides Steyaert has been associated with yield losses and tree death in coffee-growing countries, including Kenya. Varietal resistance is of utmost importance in managing the disease, and the continued increase in host resistance is considered sufficient to control the disease. Therefore, this study investigated the response of four coffee cultivars to F. stilboides. Fifteen hypocotyls from Coffea arabica (Ruiru 11, Batian and SL 28), plus two other coffee species, Coffea canephora (Robusta coffee) and Coffea liberica (Liberica coffee), were inoculated with various concentrations of three F. stilboides isolates (NRF 930/18, TN002B (I), BS008B (A)) using both the injection and drenching methods. The stem injection method was performed by injecting one microliter of the F. stilboides spore solution into the hypocotyl. In the drenching method, coffee seedlings had their roots cut and transplanted in a transplanting mixture, after which 10 mL of the F. stilboides spore solution was applied to the soil surface in each pot. The inoculated hypocotyls were incubated at 24 ± 2 °C for 105 days. The plants were watered regularly as necessary while the development of symptoms was observed and assessed weekly. Disease severity was evaluated using a modified scale of 0–4, while incidence was scored as a percentage of infected seedlings. Coffee seedlings inoculated with F. stilboides developed symptoms such as wilting, stunted growth and defoliation. In the first season, the coffee cultivars of Ruiru 11 and Liberica inoculated with Fusarium stilboides had pronounced severity compared to other cultivars. In the second season, the coffee cultivars Batian and Ruiru 11 had pronounced severity compared to other cultivars. The isolate TN002B (I) was observed to be highly virulent as compared to other isolates. The variation in response to disease infection exhibited by the four cultivars presents a key input in breeding programs for resistance to F. stilboides. Full article
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18 pages, 5067 KiB  
Article
A Novel Caffeine Oleate Formulation as an Insecticide to Control Coffee Berry Borer, Hypothenemus hampei, and Other Coffee Pests
by Carmenza E. Góngora, Johanna Tapias, Jorge Jaramillo, Rubén Medina, Sebastián González, Tatiana Restrepo, Herley Casanova and Pablo Benavides
Agronomy 2023, 13(6), 1554; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13061554 - 05 Jun 2023
Viewed by 2317
Abstract
The coffee berry borer (CBB), Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari, 1867) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae), is the pest that causes the most economic damage to coffee crops. Chemical control of this insect is based on the use of insecticides that can affect the environment and nontarget [...] Read more.
The coffee berry borer (CBB), Hypothenemus hampei (Ferrari, 1867) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae: Scolytinae), is the pest that causes the most economic damage to coffee crops. Chemical control of this insect is based on the use of insecticides that can affect the environment and nontarget organisms. Despite the fact that caffeine has shown potential as an insecticide, a caffeine-based product for field use is currently not available on the market. As a new alternative to control CBB and other coffee pests, such as Monalonion velezangeli Carvalho and Costa, 1988 (Hemiptera: Miridae), a caffeine-oleate was developed. The caffeine oleate formulation showed laboratory efficacy by causing mortality of more than 90% of CBB adults in preventive tests in which the insecticide was sprayed prior to insect attack on the coffee fruits. In the curative tests, in which spraying occurred after CBB infested the fruits, the formulation caused 77% mortality of the insects. Under controlled field conditions, the product kept CBB infestation below 20%, reducing the number of fruits attacked by the insect by up to 70%. In addition, no phytotoxic effects were observed in coffee plants. The insecticide was also effective against M. velezangeli, causing 100% mortality. A caffeine oleate formulation that could be part of a strategy for integrated CBB management as well as other pests of coffee was developed. The components of the insecticide are food grade, and the product would provide greater security to the coffee ecosystem and coffee growers. Full article
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12 pages, 6524 KiB  
Article
Development of a Predictive Model of the Flight Dynamics of the European Corn Borer, Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner, 1796 (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), in the Vojvodina Region, Serbia—Implications for Integrated Pest Management
by Aleksandar Ivezić, Gordan Mimić, Branislav Trudić, Dragana Blagojević, Boris Kuzmanović, Željko Kaitović and Kristina Petrović
Agronomy 2023, 13(6), 1494; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13061494 - 29 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1762
Abstract
Although corn production is affected by several harmful insects, its most important pest in the southeastern region of Europe is the European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner, 1796 (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Chemical control of O. nubilalis remains the main strategy in conventional corn [...] Read more.
Although corn production is affected by several harmful insects, its most important pest in the southeastern region of Europe is the European corn borer (ECB), Ostrinia nubilalis Hübner, 1796 (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Chemical control of O. nubilalis remains the main strategy in conventional corn production. The key to successfully achieving a high efficiency of insecticides is determining the appropriate moment of application, including the exact time in the insect’s life cycle when it is most vulnerable. In this study, monitoring data on the flight dynamics of ECB adults from a seven-year period (2014–2020) were exploited for the development of a predictive model of adult numbers within the growing season. ECB monitoring was performed by using light traps at 15 different locations in the Vojvodina region (Serbia) during the specified time period. First, the calendar for Vojvodina was created based on the analytics of the collected monitoring data. Additionally, the calendar was converted to the probability of ECB occurrence during the growing season, specifying the time interval between the appearance of each generation of the pest. Second, using machine learning techniques, a phenological model was designed that included daily values of relevant meteorological features, such as cumulative degree-days, relative humidity, and precipitation. The calendar had a lower prediction error when compared to the phenological model, and it was tested as a supporting management tool for the ECB in 2021, with a root-mean-square error of the number of adults of 46.67. Such an approach could significantly reduce both the consumption of insecticides and the number of chemical treatments, respectively. Above all, this approach has broad potential in IPM and organic farming, and it is fully compatible with biological control methods. Full article
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21 pages, 2313 KiB  
Article
Laboratory Investigation of Five Inert Dusts of Local Origin as Insecticides against the Colorado Potato Beetle (Leptinotarsa decemlineata [Say])
by Luka Batistič, Tanja Bohinc, Aleksander Horvat, Iztok Jože Košir and Stanislav Trdan
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 1165; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13041165 - 19 Apr 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1189
Abstract
The Colorado potato beetle (CPB) is an economically important pest on potatoes, which can cause significant damage if not controlled. Our laboratory trial was conducted to study the efficacy of five types of inert dusts (diatomaceous earth, quartz sand, Norway spruce wood ash, [...] Read more.
The Colorado potato beetle (CPB) is an economically important pest on potatoes, which can cause significant damage if not controlled. Our laboratory trial was conducted to study the efficacy of five types of inert dusts (diatomaceous earth, quartz sand, Norway spruce wood ash, zeolite, and tree of heaven leaf dust) against the CPB. Efficacy was tested using three modes of application (MoA): MoA 1, in which the used inert dusts were applied to both leaves and insects; MoA 2, where just the leaves were pre-dusted; and MoA 3, where only the pests were pre-dusted. All three modes were tested on larvae (L1/L2 and L3/L4) and adults of CPB. Among the inert dusts applied to the adults, the highest efficacy was recorded for the diatomaceous earth treatment (13.3 ± 3.3%) in the first MoA and the wood ash treatment (6.7 ± 3.3%) in the second MoA after 7 days of exposure. Defoliation results for adults were most promising in the A. altissima leaf dust treatment in the first and second MoA (45.3 ± 8.2%) after 7 days of exposure. For the old larvae, wood ash was the most promising in regards to efficacy (26.7 ± 7.3%) and defoliation (app. 70.0%) after 7 days of exposure in the third MoA. For the young larvae, the most promising results at the end of the 7-day exposure period for efficacy were obtained from the treatment of diatomaceous earth (65.7 ± 22.9%). Defoliation rates for young larvae were also high, but most promising in the treatment of A. altissima leaf dust (41.0 ± 4.2%) in the second MoA. The results showed that the inert dusts were not very effective in controlling the CPB, with the exception of wood ash and diatomaceous earth, which showed some limited control. A. altissima leaf dust generated a low defoliation rate, possibly due to an antifeedant effect on the beetles. Full article
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26 pages, 5334 KiB  
Article
Identification of HIR, EDS1 and PAD4 Genes Reveals Differences between Coffea Species That May Impact Disease Resistance
by Sílvia Tavares, Helena Azinheira, Javier Valverde, A. Jesus Muñoz-Pajares, Pedro Talhinhas and Maria do Céu Silva
Agronomy 2023, 13(4), 992; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13040992 - 28 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1328
Abstract
Coffee, a widely consumed important agricultural product, is mainly produced from two species, Coffea arabica (Arabica coffee) and C. canephora (Robusta coffee). Timor Hybrid (HDT) is a population resulting from a natural cross between C. arabica and C. canephora. HDT derivatives have [...] Read more.
Coffee, a widely consumed important agricultural product, is mainly produced from two species, Coffea arabica (Arabica coffee) and C. canephora (Robusta coffee). Timor Hybrid (HDT) is a population resulting from a natural cross between C. arabica and C. canephora. HDT derivatives have a high spectrum of resistance to different races of Hemileia vastatrix (Hv), the causal agent of coffee leaf rust. A RNAseq database, obtained from HDT832/2 leaves inoculated with Hv (Host Resistance) and Uromyces vignae (Uv, Nonhost Resistance), showed the presence of genes implicated in the hypersensitive response and salicylic acid pathway. Hypersensitive Induced Reaction (HIR) gene family, Enhanced Disease Susceptibility1 gene (EDS1), and Phytoalexin Deficient 4 (PAD4) gene are involved in host and nonhost resistance. Relative expression calculated by RT-qPCR was used to confirm and expand the transcriptome analysis. HDTHIR4, HDTEDS1, and HDTPAD4 showed the highest upregulation in response to Hv and Uv inoculation, confirming a similar trend in host and nonhost resistance in HDT. HIR and EDS1/PAD4 gene families were characterized for the first time in the three available Coffea genomes. HIR genes were quite conserved between Coffea species. Surprisingly, EDS1 and PAD4 genes revealed major differences in gene structure. The PAD4 predicted protein from C. arabica does not include both conserved domains of the EDS1/PAD4 family, and the EDS1 putative protein from C. canephora includes a formin domain unusual in the same protein family. The variability shown by EDS1/PAD4 gene family may impact the disease resistance response of Coffea species, which can be surveyed for the gene sequences that will produce a more resistant phenotype. Full article
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14 pages, 6462 KiB  
Article
Identification of Resistance to the Corn Weevil (Sitophilus zeamais M.) in Mexican Maize Races (Zea mays L.)
by José Cruz Jiménez-Galindo, Adán Castillo-Rosales, Gloria Castellanos-Pérez, Francisco Orozco-González, Adalberto Ortega-Ortega, Daniel Padilla-Chacón, Ana Butrón, Pedro Revilla and Rosa Ana Malvar
Agronomy 2023, 13(2), 312; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13020312 - 19 Jan 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1781
Abstract
Sitophilus zeamais (Motsch.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) has a global distribution and is one of the most important post-harvest pests of maize (Zea mays L.). Some Mexican maize races could be a novel source of resistance against S. zeamais to improve commercial maize, generating [...] Read more.
Sitophilus zeamais (Motsch.) (Coleoptera: Curculionidae) has a global distribution and is one of the most important post-harvest pests of maize (Zea mays L.). Some Mexican maize races could be a novel source of resistance against S. zeamais to improve commercial maize, generating lines, varieties, and hybrids with resistance to the pest. These are original races from the center of origin of maize and have been exposed to selection pressure from S. zeamais and other pests for thousands of years, which probably resulted in some type of resistance. We studied the resistance of Mexican maize races to S. zeamais focusing on antixenosis, antibiosis, and tolerance. Antibiosis reduces the survival and reproduction of the insect or prolongs the time between generations, whereas antixenosis reduces the rate of initial and successive accumulation of the insect population. Obligate-antibiosis and free-choice bioassays were performed, and in those experiments, resistance traits and the consumption by S. zeamais were measured. The most resistant accession showed high adult mortality and fewer adults in the 1st generation, where the number of emerged adults is an ideal trait to evaluate the level of maize resistance to the pest. Net consumption (in grams) is the most economically important trait because it indicates the gross amount lost in a store, while yield losses (percentage of consumption) allow for studying tolerance. The type of endosperm did have an influence on the resistance/tolerance to S. zeamais. The flint varieties showed significantly higher mortality of adults before entering the seed, a lower quantity of emerged adults of the first generation in the obligate-antibiosis bioassay, and lower net consumption and percentage in both bioassays. In general, the varieties of the races Cristalino de Chihuahua, Apachito, and Azul showed high levels of resistance, with the Cristalino-079 (flint) and Azul (floury) accessions also being tolerant, and low levels of consumption by S. zeamais. Both could be used in breeding programs to reduce losses caused by S. zeamais. Full article
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17 pages, 6501 KiB  
Article
Assessment of Resistance Mechanisms to Fall Armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda in Tropical Maize Inbred Lines
by Ovide Nuambote-Yobila, Anani Y. Bruce, Gerphas Ogola Okuku, Charles Marangu, Dan Makumbi, Yoseph Beyene, Nzola-Meso Mahungu, Boddupalli Maruthi Prasanna, Frédéric Marion-Poll and Paul-André Calatayud
Agronomy 2023, 13(1), 203; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13010203 - 09 Jan 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2406
Abstract
The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, a pest of maize native to the Americas first reported in West and Central Africa in 2016, severely threatens maize production and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Native genetic resistance is one of the best methods [...] Read more.
The fall armyworm (FAW), Spodoptera frugiperda, a pest of maize native to the Americas first reported in West and Central Africa in 2016, severely threatens maize production and food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. Native genetic resistance is one of the best methods of control of insect pests as it is contained in the seed making it more amenable for use by farmers compared to other interventions and it is also compatible with other integrated pest management (IPM) options. An intensive screening against FAW was carried out by artificial infestation in greenhouse conditions in Kenya between 2017 and 2018 on about 3000 inbred lines available in the germplasm collection of the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). Among these lines, only four showed to be resistant to FAW, but the mechanisms of resistance are not yet known. The objective of this study was to determine the resistance mechanisms specifically non-preference and antibiosis to S. frugiperda in these four selected resistant inbred lines. The studies were conducted under laboratory and net house conditions in Kenya from April 2020 to November 2021. Non-preference was assessed estimating the feeding preference by counting the number of FAW neonates found on each leaf portion, silk portion and grain using binary and multiple choice methods under laboratory conditions, while antibiosis was assessed through the relative growth rate (RGR) and developmental time of FAW larvae on leaves, silks and grains under both laboratory and net house conditions. Among the four resistant maize inbred lines tested, two, namely CML71 and CKSBL10008, exhibited the highest level of antibiosis resistance on leaves. Under laboratory conditions, the larval RGR reduced from 13 mg/d on the most susceptible line to 8 mg/d on CML71. CML71 also showed a good non-preference on leaves compared to other tested lines. Only 6% of neonates choose to feed on CML71 whereas more than 10% choose to feed on the other lines (and 15% on the most susceptible) in multiple choice tests. The non-preference for feeding and lower RGR of larvae on CML71 suggest a biochemical involvement resistance to FAW. Through this study, CML71 is revealed as a highly promising line for use in breeding for native genetic resistance to FAW in tropical maize. Full article
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15 pages, 1179 KiB  
Article
Laboratory and Field Performance of Metarhizium anisopliae Isolate ICIPE 41 for Sustainable Control of the Invasive Fall Armyworm Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)
by Joseph Munywoki, Leonidah Kerubo Omosa, Sevgan Subramanian, David Kupesa Mfuti, Ezekiel Mugendi Njeru, Vaderament-A. Nchiozem-Ngnitedem and Komivi Senyo Akutse
Agronomy 2022, 12(11), 2636; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12112636 - 26 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2236
Abstract
To overcome the negative impacts of invasive fall armyworm (FAW), this study assessed the laboratory and field efficacy of aqueous and oil-based formulations of Metarhizium anisopliae ICIPE 41 as an alternative source for FAW management. Three oil formulations, including canola, corn and olive [...] Read more.
To overcome the negative impacts of invasive fall armyworm (FAW), this study assessed the laboratory and field efficacy of aqueous and oil-based formulations of Metarhizium anisopliae ICIPE 41 as an alternative source for FAW management. Three oil formulations, including canola, corn and olive oils and an aqueous formulation of ICIPE 41, were assessed against the second-instar larvae of FAW in the laboratory. Field experiments were also conducted at Mbita and Migori, Kenya, using the formulation that performed best in the lab, with four treatments: (a) A corn oil formulation of ICIPE 41; (b) Mazao Achieve® biopesticide, with the M. anisopliae ICIPE 78 strain as the active ingredient; (c) spinetoram-based synthetic pesticide; (d) a control (water + corn oil). FAW incidence, infestation, larval mortality and the effects on parasitoids and yield were evaluated. The laboratory results showed no significant differences in the efficacies among the oil-based formulations, with mortality rates of >70% and an LT50 of ~2 days compared to 15.15% in the controls with an LT50 of 8.11days. Under the field conditions, no significant differences in the FAW infestation were observed between ICIPE 41 and Mazao Achieve®, compared to the control treatments in both agro-ecological zones. From the field-collected samples, both fugal-based biopesticides exhibited high mortality and mycosis rates, with no negative impacts on Cotesia icipe compared to the spinetoram pesticide. There were significant differences in the total grain yields among the treatments in Mbita and Migori. Therefore, ICIPE 41 formulated with corn oil could be used for sustainable FAW management in maize cropping systems. Full article
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12 pages, 1202 KiB  
Article
Use of Phosphonate Salts to Control Chestnut ‘Brown Rot’ by Gnomoniopsis castaneae in Fruit Orchards of Castanea sativa
by Giorgia Bastianelli, Carmen Morales-Rodríguez, Romina Caccia, Silvia Turco, Luca Rossini, Angelo Mazzaglia, Thomas Thomidis and Andrea Vannini
Agronomy 2022, 12(10), 2434; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy12102434 - 08 Oct 2022
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 2332
Abstract
The fungus Gnomoniopsis castaneae is the causal agent of the “brown rot” of sweet chestnut fruits. These days, this pathogen represents one of the main limiting factors for the sustainability of fruit production worldwide. Although heat treatment post-harvest is efficient in completely inactivating [...] Read more.
The fungus Gnomoniopsis castaneae is the causal agent of the “brown rot” of sweet chestnut fruits. These days, this pathogen represents one of the main limiting factors for the sustainability of fruit production worldwide. Although heat treatment post-harvest is efficient in completely inactivating the pathogen, the application of appropriate protocols to control “brown rot” in chestnut orchards is required to help in reducing the latent population of the fungus in fruit tissues, and the consequent development of “brown rot” symptoms in the field before the post-harvest handling process. The present study aims to evaluate and compare the efficiency of products at a minimum environmental impact in experimental trials conducted in chestnut orchards in Central Italy for two consecutive years in 2019 and 2020. Phosphonate-based salts and, specifically, Zn-phosphonate were efficient in reducing the impact of the disease and the pathogen inoculum in fruits with an efficacy comparable to the fungicide Tebuconazole. A unique treatment at the blooming time produced the best results for both Zn-phosphonate and Tebuconazole, also giving indirect evidence of female flowers as a main site of infection. Phosphonate salts, and at first Zn-phosphonate, are highly effective to protect chestnut fruits from the ‘brown rot’ fungus G. castaneae. Its use in orchard management may complement the post-harvest heat treatment during the processing of fruits. Although a still ongoing debate on phosphonate salts use and efficacy in agriculture, they can be considered an optimal fungicide in chestnut orchards because of the low environmental impact when used at the recommended doses, the high translocability and stability, and the multiple mechanisms of action. Full article
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Review

Jump to: Research

23 pages, 2785 KiB  
Review
Natural Enemies of the Pear Psylla, Cacopsylla pyri (Hemiptera: Psyllidae), and the Possibilities for Its Biological Control: A Case Study Review in the Western Balkan Countries
by Jovan Krndija, Aleksandar Ivezić, Ankica Sarajlić, Tijana Barošević, Boris Kuzmanović, Kristina Petrović, Isidora Stojačić and Branislav Trudić
Agronomy 2024, 14(4), 668; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14040668 - 25 Mar 2024
Viewed by 573
Abstract
The accessible literature covered in this paper commonly highlights psyllids as a significant group of insects affecting pear trees, posing a continual challenge for commercial orchards. With the development of modern pear cultivation systems, Cacopsylla pyri Linnaeus 1758 (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) has emerged as [...] Read more.
The accessible literature covered in this paper commonly highlights psyllids as a significant group of insects affecting pear trees, posing a continual challenge for commercial orchards. With the development of modern pear cultivation systems, Cacopsylla pyri Linnaeus 1758 (Hemiptera: Psyllidae) has emerged as a major pest in pear orchards across many European countries, including those in the Western Balkans. For years, the agricultural sector has primarily relied on chemical insecticides to control pear psyllas, but these methods often fail to produce satisfactory results. This is largely due to C. pyri’s rapid development of resistance to chemical treatments. Consequently, modern agriculture is increasingly shifting towards biological methods to manage C. pyri, involving the identification and conservation of its natural enemies. Although there is an abundance of research on the natural predators of C. pyri and their biocontrol applications across the globe, the Western Balkan region has conducted relatively few studies on the subject. Globally, various parasitoids, predators, and entomopathogenic fungi are often cited as effective against C. pyri. Specific species registered in the agroecological conditions of the Western Balkans include parasitic wasps such as Trechnites insidiosus Crawford, 1910 (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae) and Prionomitus mitratus Dalman, 1820 (Hymenoptera: Encyrtidae), as well as the predatory bug Anthocoris nemoralis Fabricius, 1794 (Hemiptera: Anthocoridae). However, most Balkan countries have yet to fully utilise the potential of beneficial entomofauna or develop strategies for their commercial application at a national level. Considering that C. pyri is a major pest in pear cultivation and its natural enemies have not been thoroughly explored in most of the Western Balkans, this paper aims to review the literature data on available natural enemies of pear psyllas and to highlight and promote their undeniable potential in biological control. Full article
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29 pages, 21650 KiB  
Review
Sustainable Strategies for the Control of Pests in Coffee Crops
by Carmenza E. Góngora, Zulma Nancy Gil, Luis Miguel Constantino and Pablo Benavides
Agronomy 2023, 13(12), 2940; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13122940 - 29 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1461
Abstract
Coffee is a worldwide commodity, and both coffee-producing and coffee-consuming countries have real concerns about environmental problems and economic growth strategies based on the efficient use of resources. Because this crop is a perennial, pests can significantly affect coffee production, causing considerable yield [...] Read more.
Coffee is a worldwide commodity, and both coffee-producing and coffee-consuming countries have real concerns about environmental problems and economic growth strategies based on the efficient use of resources. Because this crop is a perennial, pests can significantly affect coffee production, causing considerable yield losses and threatening coffee supply and security. The presence of insects and control strategies for coffee pests is becoming a challenge. Environmental sustainability, conservation of biodiversity, and safety of the coffee seed must go hand in hand with the economic sustainability of coffee growers. This is especially important, as there has been an increase in demand for coffee and new consumer interest in differentiated quality coffee. Regular pest control methods based only on the use of synthetic pesticides are no longer effective or sustainable due to the development of insecticide resistance and negative effects on the environment, human health, and biodiversity. Thus, to ensure better control and ecological sustainability, it is crucial to reduce pesticide use by adopting original alternative strategies to maintain pest populations below the economic threshold level and towards reaching the European Green Deal. In this review, we collect information available for sustainable control of the principal coffee pests in Colombia: coffee berry borer (CBB), Hypothenemus hampei; Monalonion velezangeli; coffee root mealybugs; coffee leaf miner: Leucoptera coffeella; and the coffee red spider mite: Oligonychus yothersi. The control strategies include deep knowledge of the biology of insects and the coffee plant, their relationship with weather and habitats, as well as natural controllers. These control strategies do not involve the use of insecticides, are ecologically friendly and novel, and can be applied in other coffee-producing countries. Full article
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