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The biorational control of PEST-INSECT and phytopathogens

Grant number: 18/15910-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2018
Effective date (End): September 30, 2020
Field of knowledge:Physical Sciences and Mathematics - Chemistry
Cooperation agreement: CNPq - INCTs
Principal Investigator:Maria Fátima das Graças Fernandes da Silva
Grantee:Ricardo Alcántara de La Cruz
Home Institution: Centro de Ciências Exatas e de Tecnologia (CCET). Universidade Federal de São Carlos (UFSCAR). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:14/50918-7 - INCT 2014: for the Biorational Control of Pest-Insect and Phytopathogens, AP.TEM

Abstract

The National Institute of Science and Technology for the Biorational Control of Pest-Insect (NIST-BCPI) was founded in December 2008 and is involved in Teaching, Research and Extension oriented for the formation of skilled researchers and the generation of knowledge and agrochemical products through the following areas: i) Natural products as sources for new pesticides; ii) Semisynthetic modifications; iii) The mode of action of natural and synthetic pesticides via the inhibition of enzymes: immobilised enzymes reactors; iv) Nanotechnology to improve activity, solubility and stability; and v) Citrus diseases and resistance mechanisms. The NIST-BCPI used scientific knowledge and expertise to improve pest management practices for the benefit of Brazil and the environment. The NIST-BCPI has responded to grower needs by providing specific pest management solutions that foster competitiveness, sustainable crop production and environmental stewardship. However, due to the tropical climate, the number of insects in our agriculture is very large; therefore, the challenge continues. The number of insects and microorganisms that the NIST-BCPI was able to evaluate was small compared to the total number of pests in our agriculture. Many pest species are exceptionally well equipped to respond to environmental stresses because of their short generation time and great reproductive potential. The use of chemical sprays to control insect and fungal diseases creates a potent environmental stress. There are now many examples of pests that have responded by developing resistance to one or more pesticides. In addition, few new pesticides are being developed and marketed for insects and microorganisms because of the high cost of pesticide discovery and the necessary years of continuous and cumbersome research. Due to these challenges, investigators need to consider all of the possible routes to obtain novel pesticides. Therefore, we strongly advocate expanding the research of the NIST-BCPI. Thus, the new NIST for the Biorational Control of Pest-Insect and Phytopathogens (NIST-BCPIPP) aims to develop strategies for the control of some pest insects of soybean, passionflower and phytopathogens of citrus and to expand the studies that have already assessed some pests. The new NIST-BCPIPP will be expanding to an international network and intends to continue with the above lines of research (i-v), expanding and innovating with the current technologies. In studies with insect pests we intended to develop a more integrated management for soybean pests. In insects, the microorganisms living in their intestinal tract may perform several roles, among them aiding in the conversion of ingested substrates to nutrients that are necessary for their various stages of development until his adult and reproductive stage. The inhibition of the action of endosymbiotic microorganisms may be an alternate route for the selective and efficient control of herbivorous insects, thus we will also explore this new method. The mode of action of natural and synthetic pesticides via the inhibition of enzymes will be expanding: to enzymes xanthine oxidase, butyrylcholinesterase, cathepsin; studies of ligand-target interactions by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy; genetic study of cathepsin and chitin synthase enzymes of ants. In studies on citrus diseases we will evaluate new phytopathogens, and we also propose to enhance flavonoid accumulation in citrus tissues, via the transgenic overexpression of two transcription factors likely activating the flavonoid metabolic pathway. Orange peel represents a promising source of flavonoids and one million metric tons of peel residues are generated as a result of fruit processing. The biorefinery concept integrates facilities for the conversion of biomass into multiple value-added products, thus this technology will be used for extraction of flavonoids from citrus waste.