Publications address innovations for controlling pests and diseases in agriculture

Embrapa Agroindústria Tropical publishes studies and research that aim to strengthen the knowledge and technology apparatus for the sector

23.08.2022 | 14:32 (UTC -3)
Embrapa
Adult tomato moth insect (1); tomato moth caterpillar (2); tomato moth pupa (3). - Photo: Lindemberg Mesquita
Adult tomato moth insect (1); tomato moth caterpillar (2); tomato moth pupa (3). - Photo: Lindemberg Mesquita

Knowing how to deal with pests and diseases is a differentiator for producers. By identifying the physical, behavioral and reproductive characteristics of insects, entomology contributes to the construction of techniques for the most appropriate management of plants. Embrapa Agroindústria Tropical publishes studies and research that aim to strengthen the knowledge and technology apparatus for the sector. These new features can be found in the Embrapa Technological Information Repository (Infoteca Embrapa). Check out the most recent titles below.

Insects associated with Spondias

Based on research carried out at the Embrapa Experimental Field, located in Pacajus (CE), the study “Biodiversity and feeding habits of phytophagous coleopterans associated with Spondias spp.”, prepared by researchers from Embrapa Agroindústria Tropical, presents an inventory of species of phytogaphic Coleoptera, an order of insects that includes beetles, ladybugs and scarabs, for example, and that feed on plant matter, emphasizing biodiversity and the eating habits of these insects.  

Plants of the genus Spondias spp (family Anacardiaceae) are used as hosts. Among the fruit trees in the Anacardiaceae family, scholars highlight the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale L.), the mango tree (Mangifera indica L.) and the pistachio (Pistacia vera L.). Species of the genus Spondias, which are widely exploited economically in tropical areas, are also discussed: the umbuzeiro or imbuzeiro (Spondias tuberosa Arruda), the cajazeira or taperebazeiro, as it is known in the North of Brazil (Spondias. mombin L. – syn. S. lutea L.); the cirigueleira or serigueleira (S. purpurea L.); the cajaraneira or cajá-mangueira (S. dulcis Parkinson. – syn. S. cyntherea Sonn.); and the natural hybrids cajá-umbuzeiro or umbu-cajazeira, cajagueleira or umbugueleira, endemic to the Brazilian Northeast.

The study concluded that insects from the order Coleoptera phytogaphus of Spondias spp., whose dietary habit consists of consuming leaves, total eight species and belong to seven different families. Among the parts affected by pests and diseases, the fruits, leaves, flowers, buds, flower buds, seeds, trunk, branches, stem and roots of the host plants stand out. 

Cashew pests

In activities related to cashew farming, the study “Degree of cashew moth infestation in dwarf cashew clones intercropped with fruit trees” demonstrates the results of controlling the damage caused by the cashew moth when intercropping clones of dwarf cashew trees with the fruit trees banana, papaya and watermelon. Intercropped cultivation consists of the cultivation of two or more agricultural species in the same area.

The cashew moth, in turn, is the most important pest during the cashew fruiting period because it attacks the fruit (nut), causing high losses by completely destroying the cashew nut kernel. The study investigated the incidence of the pest in three dwarf cashew clones: CCP 76, BRS 226 and BRS 189, cultivated in the Experimental Field of Embrapa Agroindústria Tropical, in Pacajus (CE). In overall results, CCP 76 was the genotype that presented the highest percentage of punctured nuts, regardless of the type of intercropping.

Tomato pests

The moth is a recurring pest in different types of crops. In tomato farming, caterpillars feed on the leaf tissue responsible for photosynthesis (leaf mesophyll) at any stage of plant development, opening galleries in the leaves and causing a reduction in production. The attacked fruit is characterized by the presence of perforations. 

Aiming to provide alternatives that enable the healthy cultivation of the fruit, the folder “Management of tomato moth in cherry tomatoes in protected cultivation” addresses pest monitoring and control techniques, such as: evaluating the pest attack by the number of mines on the leaves; assessment of the percentage of attacked fruits; pest control with products registered for the crop, with a low withdrawal period; reduction of leaf mass by removing excess shoots, branches and leaves; expose fruits and young leaves to the spray solution; removal of leaves attacked with the presence of larvae and pupae; and evaluating the efficiency of the products, counting the number of live and dead larvae and pupae after application. 

Research has proven that protected cultivation can reduce the incidence of pests and reduce the use of pesticides by up to 80%. With this reduction, there was also a greater economic return. Another method of protected cultivation is soilless, in which plants grow in pots or growing bags containing a substrate. Water and nutritional needs are met through nutritional solutions. 

The studies presented encourage Embrapa's work with the production sector in the development of knowledge and technological solutions suitable for the sustainable progress of agricultural activities with regard to pest and disease control.

To find out more about studies on technologies developed by Embrapa Agroindústria Tropical, visit the Embrapa website infoteca-e.

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