Centre for Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation launched
The fruit flies are winning—but hopefully not for long!
Centre for Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation launched at Macquarie University
Fruit flies are the biggest insect threat facing Australia’s $9 billion a year horticulture industries.
Of the more than 100 species in Australia that infest fruit fewer than 10 are a problem, with the Mediterranean fruit fly in the west and the Queensland fruit fly in the east causing the most harm.
They are two of the world’s most damaging fruit flies, with each affecting more than 100 different fruits, including most commercial crops.
Currently we use synthetic insecticides to protect fruit and vegetable crops, but these pose risks to the natural environment and human health, and fruit flies are becoming resistant to them so better tools are needed.
The Australian Research Council Centre for Fruit Fly Biosecurity Innovation is tackling this problem and was launched on June 27 by Minister Craig Laundy at Macquarie University.
The centre is dedicated to developing new, sustainable and environmentally-friendly tools for controlling fruit fly pests, and training the next generation of insect biosecurity researchers.
They will focus on predicting fruit fly hotspots, identifying fruit flies more quickly, developing lures to attract flies to traps, looking at ways to repel flies from crops and developing biopesticides.
“Fruit flies pose a serious risk to Australia’s horticultural sector, and sustained production of vulnerable crops will require new solutions for managing them,” says centre director Professor Phil Taylor.
“We need to find ways to control these pests without relying on synthetic insecticides, and without harming the environment or people.”
Based at Macquarie University, the centre brings together researchers from Macquarie University, University of Western Sydney, Queensland University of Technology, NSW Department of Primary Industries, Qld Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, CSIRO, New Zealand Institute for Plant and Food Research, and Ecogrow.