SLU news

Scents to replace pesticides on apples

Published: 28 December 2011

Insect pests can be a major problem in apple orchards. Apple Fruit Moth and other moths can, at worst, destroy the entire crop. Instead of just using pesticides, researchers from SLU will develop integrated control strategies based on scents.

The scientists want to enlist the help of pheromones, neurotransmitters that are used for communication within the same species, and kairomones, which are used for communication between different species, to protect apple orchards.

In this project, researchers will develop kairomone traps to calculate movements and population size of the Apple Fruit Moth. In addition, the traps will be able to capture large amounts of moths. They also want to find plants that attract or deter the Apple Fruit Moth from laying eggs.

The researchers will also develop a pheromone-based technology that will confuse five different moth species in apple orchards. The information collected will be compiled in a database and used for the registration of new tanks, dispensers, for the neurotransmitters.

The research project is expected to be completed in 2015. It is funded by over 3 million SEK over three years by the Foundation for Agricultural Research.

Parts of the project will be implemented in cooperation with Bioforsk in Norway, CBC Biocontrol in Italy and Shin-Etsu Chemical Ltd. in Japan.