Jun. 14, 2018
By Leonardo Gottems, reporter for AgroPages
Koppert launched its first biological alternative for the Brazilian market for the control of psyllid (Diaphorina citri), a vector responsible for greening (HLB). The product, named Challenger, was developed over seven years in partnership with the Citrus Fund Defense (Fundecitrus) and the Superior Agriculture School Luiz de Queiroz of the University of São Paulo, campus Piracicaba.
Research by the university resulted in the selection of an entomopathogenic fungus, Isaria fumosorosea. According to the research coordinator, Professor Italoa Delalibera Júnior, this organism was commonly found in soils and used in bioproducts for the control of plagues such as the whitefly in Europe and North America.
“It is a big conquest. It is the first biological product based on the Isaria fumosorosea in Brazil. It is a tool with great potential for citrus,” said the professor.
For the manager of Fundecitrus, Juliano Ayres, this product meant an advance for citrus growers. It was a natural means to reduce the psyllid population and reduce the incidence of the disease in orchards. He said the bioinsecticide showed good results and could also be effective for the control of secondary diseases.
“We are continuing the research and believe that the product can control secondary plagues on citrus. Challenger can also be used with Tamarixia radiata, a natural enemy parasitoid of the Diaphorina citri, which Fundecitrus produces in its biofactory inaugurated in March 2015,” said Ayres.
Greening is the most destructive disease that affects citrus trees, spotted for the first time in Brazil in 2004. According to Fundecitrus estimates, the disease was present in 32.2 million of the 194 million trees in the country, and destroyed more than 45 million plants in the producing regions of São Paulo in the last 14 years.