Biobest NV

Westerlo, Belgium

Biobest NV

Westerlo, Belgium

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Mommaerts V.,Free University of Brussels | Put K.,Biobest NV | Smagghe G.,Free University of Brussels | Smagghe G.,Ghent University
Pest Management Science | Year: 2011

Background: Bombus terrestris L. bumblebees are widely used as commercial pollinators, but they might also be of help in the battle against economically important crop diseases. This alternative control strategy is referred to as pollinator-and-vector technology. The present study was designed to investigate the capacity of B. terrestris to fulfil this role in greenhouse strawberry flowers, which were manually inoculated with a major plant pathogen, the grey mould Botrytis cinerea Pers.: Fr. A model microbiological control agent (MCA) product Prestop-Mix was loaded in a newly developed two-way bumblebee dispenser, and, in addition, the use of the diluent Maizena-Plus (corn starch) was tested. Results: Importantly, loading of the MCA caused no adverse effects on bumblebee workers, with no loss of survival or impairment of flight activity of the workers during the 4 week flowering period. Secondly, vectoring of Prestop-Mix by bumblebees resulted in a higher crop production, as 71% of the flowers developed into healthy red strawberries at picking (preharvest yield) as compared with 54% in the controls. In addition, these strawberries were better protected, as 79% of the picked berries remained free of B. cinerea after a 2 day incubation (post-harvest yield), while this percentage was only 43% in the control. Overall, the total yield (preharvest × post-harvest) was 2-2.5 times higher than the total yield in the controls (24%) in plants exposed to bumblebees vectoring Prestop-Mix. Thirdly, the addition of the diluent Maizena-Plus to Prestop-Mix at 1:1 (w/w) resulted in a similar yield to that of Prestop-Mix used alone, and in no negative effects on the bumblebees, flowers and berries. Conclusions: This greenhouse study provides strong evidence that B. terrestris bumblebees can vector a MCA to reduce B. cinerea incidence in greenhouse strawberries, resulting in higher yields. Similar yields obtained in the treatments with Prestop-Mix and Prestop-Mix + Maizena-Plus suggest an equally efficient dissemination of the biocontrol agent into the flowers with only half the initial concentration of Prestop-Mix, which illustrates the importance of the diluent. © 2011 Society of Chemical Industry.


Hughes G.E.,University of Birmingham | Alford L.,University of Birmingham | Sterk G.,Biobest N.V. | Bale J.S.,University of Birmingham
BioControl | Year: 2010

This study investigates the thermal activity thresholds of the predatory mirid Nesidiocoris tenuis Reuter (Hemiptera: Miridae) and two spotted spider mite Tetranychus urticae Koch (Acari: Tetranychidae). Adult N. tenuis lost locomotory function and entered chill coma at significantly lower temperatures (4.0°C and 0.3°C, respectively) than adult T. urticae (7.0°C and 5.7°C, respectively). However, the mirids were more adversely affected by high temperatures, with T. urticae losing the ability to walk and entering heat coma at higher temperatures (47.3°C and 49.7°C, respectively) than N. tenuis (43.5°C and 46.6°C, respectively). Across a range of temperatures (2.5-20°C) adult N. tenuis had faster walking speeds than T. urticae. These data are discussed in relation to the climatic conditions under which N. tenuis would be an effective biocontrol agent. © 2010 International Organization for Biological Control (IOBC).


Meeus I.,Ghent University | De Graaf D.C.,Ghent University | Jans K.,Biobest NV | Smagghe G.,Ghent University
Journal of Applied Microbiology | Year: 2010

Aims: The aims of this study were to design universal markers for different protozoan parasites of Bombus spp. based on the phylogenetic position of two important bumblebee parasites Crithidia bombi and Apicystis bombi. Methods and Results: Standard PCR and extraction techniques were used to amplify and sequence 18S rDNA. Phylogenetic analysis of the rDNA was performed in order to predict the parasite range of the primers. Conclusions: Crithidia bombi phylogenetically clusters with the trypanosomatids with slowly-evolving SSU-rRNA sequences (SE), while A. bombi is the closest sister group of Mattesia. A multiplex was designed containing an internal control and two broad-range primer pairs, detecting C. bombi and other SE trypanosomatids and also A. bombi and other neogregarines. Significance and Impact of the Study: Sequence data generated will further improve the current systematics of insect trypanosomatids and gregarines that remain troublesome. Broad-range markers for bumblebee parasites are necessary tools enabling the screening of commercially imported colonies and thus controlling their worldwide distribution and to discover related emerging parasites. © 2009 The Authors.


Mommaerts V.,Ghent University | Mommaerts V.,Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Mommaerts V.,Biobest N.V. | Wackers F.,Biobest N.V. | Smagghe G.,Ghent University
Chemical Senses | Year: 2013

For bumblebee colony survival, sugar responses are crucial as nectar is the main carbohydrate source and flower choice is likely determined by sugar composition. This study used a bioassay both with harnessed and with free-moving workers of the bumblebee Bombus terrestris to study the gustatory response to the 3 major plant sugars by both groups. In harnessed workers of B. terrestris, a concentration of 5.5% of fructose and glucose was required to induce the proboscis extension reflex in 50% of the workers, whereas for sucrose, a much higher concentration of 40% was needed. In contrast, free-moving workers given a choice between 30% glucose, 30% sucrose, 30% fructose, and water showed a strong preference for sucrose (66% of individuals) compared with 18% for glucose and 16% for fructose; water was never chosen. Familiarization with 30% fructose provoked a significant increase in preference toward fructose, indicating plasticity. In addition, by amputation of the tarsi, it was found that tarsi plays a role in the sugar response with especially the foreleg tarsi being involved in the response to fructose. Our results demonstrated that sugar response is different in free-moving versus harnessed bumblebee workers and that tarsi plays a role in sugar perception. © The Author 2013. Published by Oxford University Press. All rights reserved.


Harvey J.A.,Netherlands Institute of Ecology | Cloutier J.,Wageningen University | Visser B.,VU University Amsterdam | Ellers J.,VU University Amsterdam | And 2 more authors.
Journal of Insect Physiology | Year: 2012

In nature adult insects, such as parasitic wasps or 'parasitoids' often depend on supplemental nutritional sources, such as sugars and other carbohydrates, to maximize their life-expectancy and reproductive potential. These food resources are commonly obtained from animal secretions or plant exudates, including honeydew, fruit juices and both floral and extra-floral nectar. In addition to exogenous sources of nutrition, adult parasitoids obtain endogenous sources from their hosts through 'host-feeding' behavior, whereby blood is imbibed from the host. Resources obtained from the host contain lipids, proteins and sugars that are assumed to enhance longevity and/or fecundity. Here we conducted an experiment exploring the effects of naturally occurring sugars on longevity and fecundity in the solitary hyperparasitoids, . Lysibia nana and . Gelis agilis. Although both species are closely related, . L. nana does not host-feed whereas . G. agilis does. In a separate experiment, we compared reproduction and longevity in . G. agilis reared on either honey, a honey-sugar 'mimic', and glucose. Reproductive success and longevity in both hyperparasitoids varied significantly when fed on different sugars. However, only mannose- and water-fed wasps performed significantly more poorly than wasps fed on four other sugar types. . G. agilis females fed honey produced twice as many progeny as those reared on the honey-sugar mimic or on glucose, whereas female longevity was only reduced on the mimic mixture. This result shows not only that host feeding influences reproductive success in . G. agilis, but also that non-sugar constituents in honey do. The importance of non-sugar nutrients in honey on parasitoid reproduction is discussed. © 2012 Elsevier Ltd.


Makol J.,Wrocław University of Environmental and Life Sciences | Arijs Y.,Biobest N.V. | Wackers F.,Biobest N.V.
Zootaxa | Year: 2012

An erythraeid mite, Balaustium hernandezi sp. nov., was found in large numbers in a greenhouse in Spain. The larva, deutonymph and female of the new species are described based on material obtained during experimental rearing. Data and information on feeding habits, food spectrum, mode of reproduction and life cycle are provided. The potential role of the species as a biological control agent is discussed. Copyright © 2012. Magnolia Press.


Meeus I.,Ghent University | Smagghe G.,Ghent University | Siede R.,Bieneninstitut Kirchhain | Jans K.,Biobest NV | de Graaf D.C.,Ghent University
Journal of Invertebrate Pathology | Year: 2010

Bumblebees are commercially reared and transported worldwide mainly for pollination of greenhouse tomatoes. Three honeybee viruses have been reported in bumblebees: Acute bee paralysis virus, Kashmir bee virus and Deformed wing virus. We developed a multiplex RT-PCR with primers designed on highly conserved regions of the RNA-dependent RNA polymerase in order to detect a maximum range of viral variants. Rearing facilities and governmental organizations can now thoroughly screen bumblebee colonies with a cost-effective technique with an integrated internal amplification control (IAC) implementable in laboratories that strive for International Organization for Standardization (ISO) certification. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.


Patent
Biobest NV and NIC Sosef B.V. | Date: 2010-03-17

A device (20) for dispensing beneficial arthropods comprises a housing (21) for containing said beneficial arthropods, the housing being configured for rotating on an axis (24) in both senses (241, 242), a paddle (25) for agitating said arthropods in the housing and an outlet (23) for the beneficial arthropods. Considering a tangential viewpoint about the axis, the outlet is provided juxtaposed to the paddle and at one side thereof. With such a configuration it is achieved that the paddle shields the outlet when the housing is rotated on the axis in the sense (242) wherein the paddle precedes the outlet. A method for dispensing beneficial arthropods by the provision of devices of the invention is also disclosed.


Patent
Biobest NV | Date: 2014-08-13

The present invention relates to methods for rearing, storing or shipping predatory mites. The methods comprise contacting a rearing population of predatory mites with a succulent plant or one or more parts thereof; and optionally a nutritional source for said predatory mites.


Mommaerts V.,Free University of Brussels | Reynders S.,Free University of Brussels | Boulet J.,Free University of Brussels | Besard L.,Free University of Brussels | And 3 more authors.
Ecotoxicology | Year: 2010

Bombus terrestris bumblebees are important pollinators of wild flowers, and in modern agriculture they are used to guarantee pollination of vegetables and fruits. In the field it is likely that worker bees are exposed to pesticides during foraging. To date, several tests exist to assess lethal and sublethal side-effects of pesticides on bee survival, growth/development and reproduction. Within the context of ecotoxicology and insect physiology, we report the development of a new bioassay to assess the impact of sublethal concentrations on the bumblebee foraging behavior under laboratory conditions. In brief, the experimental setup of this behavior test consists of two artificial nests connected with a tube of about 20 cm and use of queenless micro-colonies of 5 workers. In one nest the worker bees constructed brood, and in the other food (sugar and pollen) was provided. Before exposure, the worker bees were allowed a training to forage for untreated food; afterwards this was replaced by treated food. Using this setup we investigated the effects of sublethal concentrations of the neonicotinoid insecticide imidacloprid, known to negatively affect the foraging behavior of bees. For comparison within the family of neonicotinoid insecticides, we also tested different concentrations of two other neonicotinoids: thiamethoxam and thiacloprid, in the laboratory with the new bioassay. Finally to evaluate the new bioassay, we also tested sublethal concentrations of imidacloprid in the greenhouse with use of queenright colonies of B. terrestris, and here worker bees needed to forage/fly for food that was placed at a distance of 3 m from their hives. In general, the experiments showed that concentrations that may be considered safe for bumblebees can have a negative influence on their foraging behavior. Therefore it is recommended that behavior tests should be included in risk assessment tests for highly toxic pesticides because impairment of the foraging behavior can result in a decreased pollination, lower reproduction and finally in colony mortality due to a lack of food. © 2009 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.

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