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Entomology and Nematology

Conducting basic and strategic research in sugarcane entomology is one of the mandates of the Institute. The Scientists in the Entomology Section are engaged in carrying out research with emphasis on developing cost effective and practicable technologies for insect pest management in sugarcane. Accordingly, the major areas of research being carried out in the Section of Entomology include-

  • Host-plant resistance
  • Biological control of pests
  • Behavioural studies
  • Development of pest management tools

Sources of resistance among Saccharum spp. and allied genera from the world germplasm collection available with the Institute have been / are being identified against major sugarcane pests, viz. shoot borer, inter-node borer, top borer, stalk borer and white grub. Plant phenolics influencing genotypic reaction to inter-node borer are being investigated in select species clones and hybrids. Efforts are also underway to examine induced resistance mechanisms against shoot and inter-node borers and identify inducer molecules which could be used in the management of these pests.

In the area of biological control, mass multiplication methods have been developed and field efficacy tested for several promising parasitoids and predators. Among these, recent work pertains to the woolly aphid predator Dipha aphidivora and parasitoid Encarsia flavoscutellum. A heat tolerant strain of Trichogramma chilonis, developed against shoot borer, is presently under field evaluation. The mass multiplication technique for the fungal pathogen Beauveria brongniartii against white grub is being improved using additives and protectants. Studies on isolation, laboratory bioassay and field efficacy of potential entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) of white grubs are in progress. Low cost in vitro mass production and formulation of EPN are underway.

Sex pheromones of shoot borer and inter-node borer have been evaluated in the field. An improvised water trap to deploy sex pheromone lures has been developed and patented. Other behavioural studies include studies on the role of semio-chemicals in the tri-trophic context.

Management strategies have been developed for various pests as and when required. For woolly aphid that occurred at epidemic levels in tropical India in the recent past, integrated packages have been formulated and the information disseminated to the end-users.

A package based on organic amendments, inter-crops and bio-control agents has been developed for nematode management. Two Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi in combination with nematode bio-control agents are being evaluated against Pratylenchus zeae and Meloidogyne javanica.

Facilities available in the Section:

  • Faculty recognized for Ph.D. guidance in Entomology / Zoology / Bio-sciences / Biotechnology
  • Expertise and facilities (laboratory and field) available for research in host-plant resistance, insect pathogens, parasitoids and predators, as well as analytical and molecular aspects
  • Specialized Equipments like HPLC, PCR, Gel Doc, UV Spectrophotometer, Research microscopes with image capture device

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