Reduced quality of sterile Queensland fruit fly following post-production stress from hypoxia, irradiation and vibration

Abstract

The sterile insect technique (SIT), a benign pest control strategy, is currently undergoing a substantial renewal for controlling the Queensland fruit fly (Q-fly), a major horticultural pest in Australia. Production and delivery of high-quality flies is fundamental to effective SIT. While efforts are commonly made to improve production at a factory level (both quantity and quality), the methods and conditions during post-production operations also need to be tuned to minimize reductions in fly quality. Hypoxia, irradiation and vibration are important stressors that are experienced by pupae during production, packing and transportation. However, little is known about the impacts of such stressors on Q-fly quality. We conducted two laboratory experiments to investigate the response of Q-fly to such post-production stressors, with the aim of then developing guidelines that minimize quality reductions for SIT programs. In Experiment 1, Q-fly pupae of different ages (3, 6 or 9-day old) were exposed to vibrations for 5, 30, 60 and 300 s. Flight ability tests revealed that 6- and 9-day-old pupae were the most sensitive to vibration, with significant reduction in emergence and percentage of fliers. In Experiment 2, the effect of hypoxia, irradiation and vibration, in isolation or in combination, was evaluated on 9-day-old pupae. Irradiation and vibration exhibited a multiplicative negative effect on flight ability parameters. It is recommended not to subject pupae to intense or extensive vibration during the late pupal stage and to avoid prolonged periods of hypoxia.

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Data availability

The datasets generated during the current study are available from the corresponding author on reasonable request.

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Funding

This research was conducted as part of the SIT-plus collaborative fruit fly program. Project Raising Q-fly sterile insect technique to World Standard (HG14033) is funded by the Hort Frontiers Fruit Fly Fund, part of the Hort Frontiers strategic partnership initiative developed by Hort Innovation, with co-investment from Macquarie University and contributions from the Australian Government.

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MB, BM, PWT and PR conceived and designed the experiments. MB conducted the experiments. MB and BM analyzed data. MB, BM and PWT wrote the manuscript, and all authors read and approved the manuscript.

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Correspondence to M. Benelli.

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Author Maurizio Benelli declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author Bishwo Mainali declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author Phillip W Taylor declares that he has no conflict of interest. Author Polychronis Rempoulakis declares that he has no conflict of interest.

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All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed. This article does not contain any studies with human participants performed by any of the authors.

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Benelli, M., Mainali, B., Taylor, P.W. et al. Reduced quality of sterile Queensland fruit fly following post-production stress from hypoxia, irradiation and vibration. J Pest Sci 94, 473–485 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10340-020-01269-9

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Keywords

  • Bactrocera tryoni
  • SIT operations
  • Fly transportation
  • Stress
  • Adult quality