From promising, to product: Developmental steps and challenges to bring a new predatory mite to market


Abstract: Effective biocontrol agents are currently lacking for pests such as foxglove aphid, echinothrips and mealybugs, which are relatively new to Canadian greenhouses. Meanwhile thrips, aphids, whiteflies and spider mites remain a constant threat in many greenhouse crops. Access to a generalist predator could strengthen biocontrol programs in a range of floral and vegetable crops. Regulations in the US and Canada prevent the importation of non-native generalists, meaning that there is an opportunity to develop a native predator, with the right traits, as a new biocontrol agent. Vineland Research and Innovation Centre holds functional colonies of a predatory mite with many desirable attributes. The mite, in the family Anystidae, consumes a broad range of pests, including some of the most challenging species like western flower thrips, mealybugs and aphids. Although the mite has many favourable characteristics, these alone are insufficient to guarantee commercial success. Several critical steps still need to be taken before even a prototype product is available. A commercial partner with a network of distributors and clients is important to provide investment and means of bringing the mite to market. A viable mass-rearing system is necessary to supply large quantities of mites, year-round, without affecting predatory capacity. Methods to efficiently harvest, package and ship the predator must be developed that maintain predator quality and minimize losses through the distribution chain. And clearly, for market confidence, it is important to validate performance on a commercial scale.

Cookie Consent with Real Cookie Banner