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Victoria Woolley- PhD Student at the University of Warwick

Understanding interactions between novel biopesticides in model organisms in order to develop an integrated system for management of Plutella xylostella

Supervisors: Dr Graham Teakle and Dr Dave Chandler

Funded by: BBSRC

Project summary

Plutella xylostella (DBM) is a major pest of Brassicas that has developed resistance to all major classes of insecticides. Therefore it is important to develop new alternative techniques to control this pest and to develop integrated pest management (IPM) approaches.

Biopesticides are a key aspect of IPM and include the entomopathogenic fungi Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae and Cordyceps militaris. Fungal secondary metabolites, such as cordycepin may also be useful in IPM, however neither these metabolites nor fungi themselves are highly effective in the field. RNAi is a widespread technique for gene silencing that is another potential method of pest control. There had been little investigation in to the interactions between these biopesticides, where synergistic interactions may increase the efficiency of both treatments.

This project aims to investigate these interactions in the model Lepidoptera Galleria mellonella as well as in DBM itself. Further understanding of these interactions could allow the development of an effective IPM strategy for DBM that could be applied to other pest species.