Implementation of IPM programs on European greenhouse tomato production areas: tools and constraints
Arnó i Pujol, Judit
Gabarra i Ambert, Rosa
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Whiteflies and whitefly-transmitted viruses are some of the major constraints on European tomato production. The main objectives of this study were to: identify where and why whiteflies are a major limitation on tomato crops; collect information about whiteflies and associated viruses; determine the available management tools; and identify key knowledge gaps and research priorities. This study was conducted within the framework of ENDURE (European Network for Durable Exploitation of Crop Protection Strategies). Two whitefly species are the main pests of tomato in Europe: Bemisia tabaci and Trialeurodes vaporariorum. Trialeurodes vaporariorum is widespread to all areas where greenhouse industry is present, and B. tabaci has invaded, since the early 1990’s, all the subtropical and tropical areas. Biotypes B and Q of B. tabaci are widespread and especially problematic. Other key tomato pests are Aculops lycopersici, Helicoverpa armigera, Frankliniella occidentalis, and leaf miners. Tomato crops are particularly susceptible to viruses causingTomato yellow leaf curl disease (TYLCD). High incidences of this disease are associated to high pressure of its vector, B. tabaci. The ranked importance of B. tabaci established in this study correlates with the levels of insecticide use, showing B. tabaci as one of the principal drivers behind chemical control. Confirmed cases of resistance to almost all insecticides have been reported. Integrated Pest Management based on biological control (IPM-BC) is applied in all the surveyed regions and identified as the strategy using fewer insecticides. Other IPM components include greenhouse netting and TYLCD-tolerant tomato cultivars. Sampling techniques differ between regions, where decisions are generally based upon whitefly densities and do not relate to control strategies or growing cycles. For population monitoring and control, whitefly species are always identified. In Europe IPM-BC is the recommended strategy for a sustainable tomato production. The IPM-BC approach is mainly based on inoculative releases of the parasitoids Eretmocerus mundus and Encarsia formosa and/or the polyphagous predators Macrolophus caliginosus and Nesidiocoris tenuis. However, some limitations for a wider implementation have been identified: lack of biological solutions for some pests, costs of beneficials, low farmer confidence, costs of technical advice, and low pest injury thresholds. Research priorities to promote and improve IPM-BC are proposed on the following domains: (i) emergence and invasion of new whitefly-transmitted viruses; (ii) relevance of B. tabaci biotypes regarding insecticide resistance; (iii) biochemistry and genetics of plant resistance; (iv) economic thresholds and sampling techniques of whiteflies for decision making; and (v) conservation and management of native whitefly natural enemies and improvement of biological control of other tomato pests.
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