Universiteit Leiden

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Research project

Thrips resistance in strawberry: more fruits with less pesticides

Can thrips resistance in strawberry be explained based on secondary metabolite profiles and plant morphological traits?

2016 - 2017
Peter Klinkhamer
Topconsortium voor Kennis en Innovatie Uitgangsmaterialen (TKI-U) Topconsortium voor Kennis en Innovatie Uitgangsmaterialen (TKI-U)

Stichting Aardbei Onderzoek

In this project we investigate variation in thrips resistance between strawberry cultivars and link differences in resistance to morphology and secondary metabolites.

Recently thrips has developed into a major pest problem in Dutch strawberry cultivation. Severe thrips infestations can result in up to 50% yield loss due to unmarketable fruits. Thrips control mainly depends on the use of pesticides. Residue problems on marketable fruits prohibit the application of insecticides after flower set. Besides risks for human health, problems arise with insecticide resistance, toxicity to non-target organisms and environmental contamination. New upcoming EU legislation, effective by 2020, will decrease the availability of insecticides for thrips control even though alternatives have hardly been developed. We, therefore, investigate constitutive host plant resistance to thrips in strawberry as a natural and sustainable crop protection strategy.

Fifty strawberry cultivars will be screened for thrips damage of leaves and fruits in various thrips bioassays. A subset of cultivars with the least and the most damage will be investigated in depth to identify morphological traits in leaves, flowers and fruit related to thrips damage. This subset will also be submitted to metabolomics analysis to identify leaf and fruit secondary metabolites involved in thrips resistance. This approach will provide potential biomarkers for strawberry resistance breeding. Resistant cultivars allow for a significant reduction in pesticide use. Host plant resistance, therefore, forms a vital contribution to environmental and health benefits of growers and society in general.

  • Lin T, Klinkhamer PGL, Vrieling K. 2015. Parallel evolution in an invasive plant: effect of herbivores on competitive ability and regrowth of Jacobaea vulgaris. Ecology Letters 18: 668-676
  • Lin T, Doorduin L, Temme A, Pons T, Lamers G, Anten N, Vrieling K. 2015. Enemies lost: Parallel evolution in structural defense and tolerance to herbivory of invasive Jacobaea vulgaris. Biological Invasions 17:2339-2355
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