[ RadSafe ] Using Radiation to Sterilize Insect Pests

ROY HERREN royherren2005 at yahoo.com
Thu Dec 1 01:17:54 CST 2011


Lanham, MD; November 30, 2011 -- A new study published in the Journal of 
Economic Entomology shows that radiation can be used to effectively sterilize 
the light brown apple moth (LBAM), an insect pest found in Australia, New 
Zealand, California, Hawaii, Sweden, and the British Isles. The light brown 
apple moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker), feeds on apples, pears, stonefruits, 
citrus, grapes, berries and many other plants. A native of Australia, it has 
been found in California since 2007. The California Department of Food and 
Agriculture has spent more than $70 million in CDFA and USDA funds to eradicate 
the LBAM, and estimates that failure to eradicate it could cost California 
growers over $133 million per year.
The article, "Radiation Biology and Inherited Sterility of Light Brown Apple 
Moth (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae): Developing a Sterile Insect Release Program" is 
available now in PDF format at http://bit.ly/vuH0sT.
Using similar methodologies in two different laboratories, the authors 
coordinated radiation biology studies between two geographically isolated LBAM 
populations from Australia and New Zealand. The results showed that for both 
populations, an irradiation dose of 250 Gy administered to LBMA pupae induced 
>95% sterility in females and >90% sterility in males. These results can be used 
to initiate a suppression program against the LBMA where sterile males are 
released, mate with wild females, and no offspring are produced. If successful, 
this technique can largely eliminate the need for pesticides.
"These results suggest that a sterile insect technique (SIT) or F1 sterility 
program can be applied to control an infestation of Epiphyas postvittana, but 
these would still be reliant on complementary information such as physical 
fitness and modeling of overflooding ratios." according to the authors. "The 
challenge now is to identify the dose of radiation that would provide a balance 
between insect sterility and field competitiveness." 
The Journal of Economic Entomology is published by the Entomological Society of 
America (http://www.entsoc.org), the largest organization in the world serving 
the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and people in related 

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