Pesticide-free production remains difficult in fruit and vegetable production due to the many species of insects and diseases that can damage crops. Currently, production under exclusion nets makes it possible to reduce the damage caused by several pests in apple production to an acceptable level, but the exclusion nets currently on the market act strictly as a passive mechanical barrier against the intrusion of these pests. pests. This project therefore aims to design exclusion nets made of biodegradable polymers that can be loaded with bioactive compounds (attractants or repellents) in order to control a large number of pests with a minimum of risk to health and the environment, in addition to represent an innovative approach.
Bioactive compounds can include: small biological control agents such as parasitoids that can be adsorbed on the surface of nets or different chemical mediators (pheromones, kairomones and allomones) that affect the behavior of pest insects and mites. These bioactive compounds can be used in different ways to reduce crop damage, but currently there are the following main applications that will be tested in the laboratory and in the field; (1) trichogramma netting spray for obliquebanded leafroller control, (2) alarm pheromone impregnation to repel aphids, and (3) sex pheromones for obliquebanded leafroller mating disruption (OBB).
Develop a process for modifying the surface of polymer nets to ensure the impregnation of bioactive compounds while preserving their mechanical properties.
Characterize sorption/desorption/resorption cycles of bioactive compounds in order to ensure the effective reuse of nets.
Evaluate in the laboratory and in the field the entomological effects of bioactive compounds released by the nets on different species of insect pests harmful to the orchard.
From 2020 to 2024
Fruit production, Market gardening
École Polytechnique de Montréal
CRSNG-Alliance et Prima-Québec
Exclusion nets have proven to be effective against nearly all of these insect pests, which means that it’s possible to develop apple growing practices in Québec that are not only neonicotinoid free, but also devoid of all pesticides (including acaricides, given that mite problems are a consequence of broad-spectrum insecticide use). Although the net exclusion microsystem studied in Québec since 2012 has demonstrated its effectiveness in controlling insect pests, some issues remain to be studied before it can be unreservedly recommended. Among these are the handling times for the nets, i.e., installation/removal and opening/closing, and the system’s profitability and durability over the long haul for various cultivars.
Researcher: Mikaël Larose
The purpose of this project is to test the general hypothesis that biobased polymers can be used to replace fossil-fuel-based products and reduce the use of pesticides without increasing GHG emissions.
The goal of the project is to select a strain of the mullein bug to control two spotted and red spider mites when populations tend to explode.
Researcher: Daniel Cormier