Macrolophus pygmaeus (Heteroptera : Miridae) is a mirid bug commercialised as biocontrol agent against Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera : Gelechiidae). T. absoluta, the tomato leafminer, is considered as the main tomato pest in South America but also in Europe and North Africa since its accidental introduction in 2006. Current control methods, chemicals and pheromone based strategies, are providing poor results. Biocontrol agents, as M. pygmaeus, are a good and sustainable alternative of those strategies. Integrated management programs based on M. pyfgmaeus releases are currently used in tomato crops.
The study conducted in the Unité of Entomology is based on a very well known phenomenon, which is the attraction of predators by herbivore induced plant volatiles (HIPVs). The final goal is to attract M. pygmaeusfrom the outside environment into greenhouses via attractive volatile compounds.
The proposed work aims to investigate the attraction potential of HIPVs perceived by M. pygmaeus.Physiological and behavioural tests have to be conducted. This investigation requires the use of several devices commonly used for insect behaviour investigations, electroantenograph, chromatograph, wind tunnel and olfactometer.
Keywords : Macrolophus pygmaeu, tomato leafminer, HIPVs, antennal response, behavioural tests
Duration : This project can fit to a master thesis or an internship, the experiments will be adapted according to the student availability.
Contact : François VERHEGGEN (email@example.com ; 081/622662)