Team:Valencia UPV/Project/modules/problem

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Revision as of 11:37, 14 October 2014

Project > Modules > Problem


Problem


Figure 1. Crop field. From:

Agriculture is at the base of our global social system. Crops from all over the world feed us and provide us raw materials. Increase of population has led to a demand boost, which should come together with higher production yields to maintain the current system. It is clear that agriculture must improve along with the increase on demand.

Figure 2. H. Armigera larvae and damaged leaf. From:

Pests are one of the main causes lowering yields in agriculture. Hence the importance of controlling them. Moth pests are particularly damaging and they affect high number of crops all over the world. It has been reported that H. armigera larvae attack more than 60 species of cultivated and wold host plants, including Asteraceae, Fabaceae, Malvaceae, Poaceae and Solanaceae familie, i.e. affecting the main commercial crops such as cotton, maize, legumes, tomato and ornamental plants (Fitt 1989, EPPO 2010, CABI 2013). Figure 3 shows the world distribution of H. Armigera and H. Zea pests.




Figure 3. World distribution of H. Armigera and H. Zea pests. From: EPO 2010



Traditional methods to fight them, based on chemical pesticides, may cause damage in the environment or even in the consumer. Thus, pesticides are becoming less and less socially accepted. In any case, they are not the best solution. Insects tend to become resistant, so the dose needs to increased, leading to further toxicity. Moreover, broad-spectrum pesticides affect other insects which cause no problem as well.




Figure 4. Helicoverpa Armigera. From: EPO 2010

An alternative pest control strategy should be used fight these pests. To this end, the use of sexual pheromones is becoming popular for traps and also for mating disruption strategies. Female insects produce a pheromone trace which allows the male to find them. Once together, they mate and the female lays eggs on the plant. Then the larvae are born and eat the crops. However, if we load the air with pheromones so that its concentration passes a certain threshold, the male won't be able