Center for Plant Health Science and Technology
As a result of several new pest and disease threats, the CPHST Mission Lab’s focus has shifted over the past few years from one solely dedicated to biological control to a laboratory that is multifaceted in developing new methods in molecular biology, integrated pest management, plant disease epidemiology, and biological control in support of PPQ programs. Because of these changes, the lab continues to grow in these new directions. For example, Mission Lab’s studies support fruit fly sterile insect technique (SIT) diet work and fruit fly trapping and monitoring. These efforts are geared toward providing more effective SIT management options. We continued to evaluate diagnostic methods for important fruit fly pests, including Anastrepha, Bactrocera, and Ceratitis species. Offshore initiatives nearing completion include integrated pest management studies of the chilli thrips (Scirtothrips dorsalis), giant African snails (Achatina fulica), and Cuban slugs (Veronicella cubensis). The offshore work dovetails with ongoing molecular diagnostic work occurring at the lab with chilli thrips and gastropods.
In addition, monitoring continues to track populations of the Asian cycad scale, Aulacaspis yasumatsui, on sago palms in the Rio Grande Valley. For citrus, the current plant health issue focus is on Huanglongbing (HLB) or citrus greening. As such, the Mission Lab is collaborating with the Texas A&M Citrus Center in Weslaco, TX, on a pilot, areawide management program for the vector of HLB, the Asian citrus psyllid (Diaphorina citri). In Florida, citrus canker work continues in collaboration with ARS personnel with special emphasis on infected fruit.
Last Modified: September 26, 2012