This project followed on from the EthoGenomics project and continued to develop new methods for automatically measuring behaviors in the whitefly, aphids and thrips which are indicative of plant resistance to being bitten by those pests. Sucking insect pests represent a major problem in horticulture, causing serious reductions in yields both from from direct damage and form virus infections. This also affects crop marketability due to cosmetic issues and export restrictions. The application of pesticides to control them represents a serious hazard to the health of consumers, and to any beneficial insects including bee pollinators as well as other environmental impacts. There is therefore a high demand for horticultural products which are insecticide free and of high quality. Breeding novel cultivars with strong resistance to insect pests is therefore a major goal for both vegetable and flower breeding companies. Plant breeding for insect resistance is frustrated by the complexity of insect-plant interactions and the lack of reliable, efficient, high throughput bioassays. As a result there is an need for high throughput methods which allow the assessment of quantitative differences of plant resistance to sucking insect pests. In this project we aim to develop high throughput methods that rapidly assess the levels of resistance in lettuce, brassica, pepper, tomato, cucumber, onion, chrysanthemum and lily against different species of aphids, thrips and whitefly.
Role of Noldus
Noldus' automatic behavioral analysis software EthoVision XT is a core technology used in this project. Noldus optimized and improved EthoVision in this project, so that it will be even more effective for this use.
The following partners cooperated in this project:
- Plant Research International (WUR)
- Noldus Information Technology
- Nunhems (Bayer CropScience)
- East-West Seed Company
- Royal Van Zanten