RP3 Promoting adaptability of Amblyseius swirskii predatory mites to tomato crop

A. swirskii predatory mites are important natural enemies in modern biocontrol, but they cannot be applied in all crops. This project will try to develop A. swirskii that are better adapted to tomato crop by using a combination of selective breeding and a better understanding of the mechanisms involved.

The use of the predatory mite Amblyseius swirskii in horticultural crops is one of the most recent success in biological control.  Nowadays, A. swirskii is a key player in IPM strategies due to its extremely efficacy for controlling whiteflies and thrips. However, better adapted strains to specific crops are needed. The main goal of this project is to obtain A. swirskii strains better adapted to tomato crop, by (1) laboratory selection of A. swirskii for better performance on tomato plants, (2) phenotypic characterization of selected strains/colonies assessing their performance as biological control agents, and (3) applying genetic, genomic and biochemical approaches to investigate the mechanisms regulating the adaptation.