Pest Management Science is the international journal of research and development in crop protection and pest control. Since its launch in 1970, the journal has become the premier forum for papers on the discovery, application, and impact on the environment of products and strategies designed for pest management.

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“The double whammy of the ban on neonicotinoid seed treatments and the development of resistance to permitted pyrethroid insecticides has resulted in loss of control of Psylliodes chrysocephala in oilseed rape, leading to significant reductions in the area grown in Europe and the need for less sustainably produced imports of vegetable oils. RNA interference (RNAi) pest management strategies rely on the silencing of an essential gene in the target insect. Subsequent disruption of vital processes leads to mortality or severe sublethal effects. RNAi-based strategies align well with the goals of integrated pest management since RNAi has been demonstrated to be highly species-specific compared to conventional insecticides. This study is the first to investigate the potential of RNAi approaches for P. chrysocephala. Orthologs of two genes responsible for endoplasmic reticulum-Golgi transport and organelle acidification (Sec23 and vacuolar adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-ase subunit G (VatpG), respectively) were identified from the P. chrysocephala transcriptome. Double-stranded (ds)RNAs for the two genes were designed and synthesised then tested at several concentrations in feeding bioassays using newly emerged (pre-aestivation) and post-aestivation adult stages. Mortality over 25 days was greatest following ingestion of dsSec23 than dsVatpG (~34%); for dsSec23 mortality was less for post-aestivation beetles (i.e. the stage that cause crop damage) (56%) than of pre-aestivation beetles (76%) with median lethal time of 19 days at 100ng/cm² and a median lethal dose (LD50) of 87ng. Sublethal effects were evident just four days post treatment, with reduced carbon dioxide production (indicating decreased metabolism) in beetles from both treatments and reduced walking speeds (attenuated locomotion) and reduced protein content in beetles following ingestion of dsSec23. Importantly for crop protection, leaf area consumed by treated beetles was reduced by 60% and 49% for dsSec23 and dsVatpG treatments, respectively. The study went further to demonstrate that ingestion of the dsRNA affected expression of the target genes. RNA sequencing and gene expression measurements performed at three days post treatment showed the generation of ~21 nucleotide long small interfering (si)RNAs and a systemic RNAi response. This work corroborates the notion that Chrysomelid beetles are particularly sensitive to dietary RNAi and extends the list of susceptible species to P. chrysocephala, excitingly bringing next-generation insecticides one step closer for truly integrated pest control in oilseed crops.”

- S.M. Cook, Associate and Guest Editor




Authors: Doga CeddenGözde GüneyStefan ScholtenMichael Rostás

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