Many tomato growers around the world face the same problem: Tuta absoluta. Andermatt Biocontrol Suisse developed the biological insecticide Tutavir against this major pest. In the article below you can learn about a unique feature of Tutavir: the population effect.
The tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta, originating in South America arrived in Spain in 2006. Since then, this insect has spread through Europe, Africa, the Middle East and South Asia and has emerged as a major pest in tomato production. Growers can face total yield loss as Tuta absoluta develops rapidly and shows resistance to many insecticides. Therefore, the tomato growers call for new solutions to control this pest.
Andermatt Biocontrol Suisse developed the ideal tool to combat and prevent resistance problems of Tuta absoluta. Tutavir is the only biological insecticide with the active ingredient PhopGV, a baculovirus. In addition, a tomato grower can easily integrate Tutavir into a spray program as the product is highly compatible with beneficials, other insecticides and fungicides. It is non-toxic and leaves no residues on plant parts. Tutavir minimises not only the damage, but also the population development of the pest. Keep reading to learn how this works.
Tutavir is used as full cover foliar spray on the tomato plants starting at first appearance of Tuta absoluta. The recently-hatched larvae feed on the tomato leaves covered with baculovirus particles and therefore take up the baculovirus together with leaves. The baculovirus replicates inside the larva, which stops feeding and dies due to the disease outbreak. This is the direct effect leading in damage control as known for other insecticides too. In addition, the dead larva releases many new baculovirus particles, which can be taken up by another larva. This larva eventually dies as well. Therefore, the baculovirus can spread throughout the field. In case a larva is able to survive the viral disease and goes on with its life cycle, the viral disease can break out in the next generation. This is due to stress as the larva still carries the baculovirus inside. This unique population control of Tutavir can help to stabilise the Tuta absoluta population in the long run, which we observed in lab and field trials.
We set up a lab trial to show the population effect of Tutavir. Researchers put Tuta absoluta larvae on tomato plants and counted the number of adults of the following generations of Tutavir-infected compared to untreated larvae. This lab trial showed that Tutavir reduced the number of adults over two Tuta absoluta generations by the population control only.
Further, we investigated the population effect in a collaboration with researchers at Agroscope (Swiss center for agricultural research), who ran a greenhouse trial over three pest generations. They sprayed the tomato plants with a standard Tutavir regime for the first two weeks followed by a low spray regime only. Tutavir reduced the cumulated number of adults and larvae over three generations by the population effect.
Last, trialists at an Italian field trial institute ran a field trial under commercial conditions in Sicily, Italy. They compared a standard spray program for Tuta absoluta control to the same program with additional Tutavir in tank mix for the first five applications. The spray program including Tutavir showed significant reduction of percentage of attacked leaves and fruits up to 42 days after the last Tutavir spray. This long-term effect can be explained by the population effect.
These trials demonstrate the long-term effect of Tutavir on the Tuta absoluta population. Tutavir is sprayed at standard dose and interval for a direct effect leading to damage control. In addition, the population effect comes to help to control the population of Tuta absoluta. These two effects together make Tutavir a unique solution for Tuta absoluta control in application programs. The Andermatt Group brings Tutavir to the market to offer a sustainable solution to support tomato growers battling this challenging pest.
More information on the product: Tutavir