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Daniel C.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL | Grunder J.,University of Zurich
Insects | Year: 2012

The European cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cerasi (L.) (Diptera: Tephritidae), is a highly destructive pest. The low tolerance for damaged fruit requires preventive insecticide treatments for a marketable crop. The phase-out of old insecticides threatens cherry production throughout the European Union (EU). Consequently, new management techniques and tools are needed. With the increasing number of dwarf tree orchards covered against rain to avoid fruit splitting, crop netting has become a viable, cost-effective method of cherry fruit fly control. Recently, a biocontrol method using the entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana has been developed for organic agriculture. However, for most situations, there is still a lack of efficient and environmentally sound insecticides to control this pest. This review summarizes the literature from over one hundred years of research on R. cerasi with focus on the biology and history of cherry fruit fly control as well as on antagonists and potential biocontrol organisms. We will present the situation of cherry fruit fly regulation in different European countries, give recommendations for cherry fruit fly control, show gaps in knowledge and identify future research opportunit ies. © 2012 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

Daniel C.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL
Insects | Year: 2014

The European cherry fruit fly, Rhagoletis cerasi (L.) (Diptera: Tephritidae), is a highly destructive pest. Methods to control it are limited and alternatives are needed. Observations of cherry fruit flies suggest that females exert much effort to penetrate cherries at color change stage (from green to yellow) for oviposition. Therefore, the question arose as to whether a physical barrier on the fruit surface could reduce oviposition. The effects of different commercial horticultural oil products on R. cerasi oviposition were evaluated in a series of laboratory, semi-field and field experiments. In the laboratory experiments, the rate of successful oviposition on fruits treated with 0.25% v/v of the rapeseed oil product Telmion was significantly reduced by 90% compared to the untreated control. In semi-field experiments, deposits of 1% of rapeseed, mineral and paraffinic oil significantly reduced oviposition for up to 3 days. Semi-field experiments indicated that the oil products lose efficacy within 3 to 6 days after application due to degradation. Although treatments with the rapeseed oil product Telmion reduced infestation rates in an on-farm field experiment, the infested fruit clearly exceeded the level of market tolerance of 2%. Further research is needed to assess whether combinations of oil products, higher application rates and different formulations might improve field efficacy. © 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. Source

Koller M.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL
Acta Horticulturae | Year: 2011

Powdery mildew attacks several important crops in greenhouses (e.g., tomatoes, cucumbers). Compared with other airborne pathogens, such as downy mildews (e.g., Pseudoperonospora cubensis or Phytophthora infestans) or Botrytis, the damage is often not very severe. However, an effective control of powdery mildew with organic fungicides gives the possibility to optimize climate conditions to prevent downy mildews and gray mould. Sulphur, a well-established fungicide, is rated from slightly to very harmful to beneficial organisms (Koppert Biological Systems, 2010) and may have a phytotoxic effect on some crops (e.g., melon). Effects of potassium and sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) against diseases are well known (Horst et al., 1992). In 2008, the European Commission (EC) authorized the use of potassium bicarbonate in organic agriculture (EC, 2008). In this study, the effects of a formulated potassium bicarbonate product, Armicarb ®, were tested against powdery mildew on tomato, cucumber, melon, rosemary, sage and corn salad. The disease-reducing effect of potassium bicarbonate was comparable to sulphur for most of the tested crops. With protective applications, the efficacy was higher than 90%. However, in melon, where powdery mildew was present before the first spray was applied, efficacy was only 74%. Compared with plant oils or extracts (such as fennel oil, tea tree oil and lecithin), potassium bicarbonate has shown the same or better efficacy. In our experiments, we found no phytotoxicity caused by the potassium bicarbonate product Armicarb ®. Source

Borstler B.,University of Basel | Thiery O.,University of Basel | Sykorova Z.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Berner A.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL | Redecker D.,University of Basel
Molecular Ecology | Year: 2010

Glomus intraradices, an arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus (AMF), is frequently found in a surprisingly wide range of ecosystems all over the world. It is used as model organism for AMF and its genome is being sequenced. Despite the ecological importance of AMF, little has been known about their population structure, because no adequate molecular markers have been available. In the present study we analyse for the first time the intraspecific genetic structure of an AMF directly from colonized roots in the field. A recently developed PCR-RFLP approach for the mitochondrial rRNA large subunit gene (mtLSU) of these obligate symbionts was used and complemented by sequencing and primers specific for a particularly frequent mtLSU haplotype. We analysed root samples from two agricultural field experiments in Switzerland and two semi-natural grasslands in France and Switzerland. RFLP type composition of G. intraradices (phylogroup GLOM A-1) differed strongly between agricultural and semi-natural sites and the G. intraradices populations of the two agricultural sites were significantly differentiated. RFLP type richness was higher in the agricultural sites compared with the grasslands. Detailed sequence analyses which resolved multiple sequence haplotypes within some RFLP types even revealed that there was no overlap of haplotypes among any of the study sites except between the two grasslands. Our results demonstrate a surprisingly high differentiation among semi-natural and agricultural field sites for G. intraradices. These findings will have major implications on our views of processes of adaptation and specialization in these plant/fungus associations. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. Source

Leiber F.,Research Institute of Organic Agriculture FiBL
Organic Agriculture | Year: 2014

Based on the assumption that the reduction of the use of imported protein concentrates, such as soybean from overseas, is a goal of ecologically sustainable livestock production, this paper is discussing significant aspects of dairy cows’ demand for dietary protein. These aspects are put in a general context of rumen fermentation efficiency. The main question is, whether new perspectives on optimal rumen functioning could be found, which allow to develop low-input feed evaluation systems for dairy cattle, especially in organic livestock systems. It is argued that besides the reduction in concentrated feedstuff, such systems should base on aspects of feeding behaviour and feed diversity. Such approaches are expected to avoid nutrition-based metabolic disorders of the cattle and to generate advantageous side effects regarding food quality and ecology coming along with low-concentrate feeding. An approximate outline of topics for research and development in order to achieve such systems is presented with this paper. © Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014. Source

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