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
Developing and assessing the planting of flower strips in orchard inter-rows as an alternative to the application of insecticides.
Design and validation of a new generation of high tunnels with automatic retractable roofs, new roofing materials, and screens that will extend the harvest season.
Researcher: Annabelle Firlej