Oct. 10, 2017
Fall armyworm (FAW, Spodoptera frugiperda
) has been recently introduced from America to Africa. The larvae of FAW are causing enormous crop losses, particularly in staple food such as maize, sorghum and rice, thus leading to a severe crisis in African food security. The use of chemical pesticides against FAW quickly leads to the development of resistance and therefore integrated or biological control strategies are highly recommended.
The Swiss biorational company Andermatt Biocontrol developed LITTOVIR, a baculovirus product for the control of a closely related pest, Spodoptera littoralis. LITTOVIR revealed a two to ten times greater activity than known virus isolates from Spodoptera frugiperda. Field trials in Cameroon showed that damage caused by FAW in the plots treated with LITTOVIR was only 30% as compared to 80% in the untreated control.
LITTOVIR has already been approved in Europe against S. littoralis, and represents a new tool for sustainable and biological control of FAW in Africa as well as the Americas. The urgent need for a solution to control the invasive pest in Africa raises hopes that otherwise lengthy approval processes should be accelerated in this emergency, to provide a new control tool against FAW.