Old problem – new solution for managing the vineyard pest Lobesia botrana with pheromones: biodegradable electrospun mesofiber dispensers combined with novel mechanical deployment


Abstract: Finding and selecting suitable dispensers for pheromone disruption studies against a variety of insect pests is a major technological challenge. Our recent efforts concentrate on organic mesofibers with a typical diameter range between 0.5 and 3.5 micrometers. These fibers can either be electrospun onto inert carriers or also onto the growing crop plants. They are based on the biodegradable low cost Ecoflex® co-polyester which can readily incorporate up to 33 weight % of the major pheromone component of the Lobesia botrana sex pheromone (E,Z)-7,9-dodecadienylacetate. Using the well established in-field cage testing technique, mating disruption effects were demonstrated for continuous periods of up to 7 weeks with one single application after which the fiber material slowly decomposes and completely disappears within half a year. The mesofibers are free of any toxicity and eco-toxicity. Their application may be combined with other cultivation measures. They may be applied with modified vineyard cultivation machinery. Mesofibers are a step towards the goal of producing smart, “semi-intelligent” micro-dispensers which may occupy a future innovative place in the emerging strategy of precision agri- and viticultural systems.

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