Fall armyworm damage to maize

Fall armyworm attacking maize – one of the world’s most widely-consumed staple food crops

Two experts in the field of biological pest control are on secondment for three months from the Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences (IPP-CAAS) to the European arm of the MARA-CABI Joint Laboratory for Biosafety, at CABI’s facilities in the Swiss canton of Jura, to help advance the research and application of biological controls to fight pests which threaten global food security.

Dr Jingfei Guo and Dr Shengyong Wu are both charged with furthering the first two projects at the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs (MARA) China-CABI European Laboratory at CABI in Delémont.

These include investigating whether two parasitoids from fall armyworm`s area of origin in the Americas could be used for the classical biological control of fall armyworm in Africa and Asia. The other project will look into biopesticide ingredients and products registered in China that could be added to the new CABI Biopesticides Portal.

The fall armyworm (FAW) is a devastating pest of maize and some other cereals and has been discovered for the first time in Africa in 2016. It has now spread to many Asian countries including large areas of China. For further information visit CABI’s Fall armyworm portal.

Dr Jingfei Guo will work with Dr Marc Kenis, from CABI’s Swiss centre, to study aspects of the biology and ecology of the parasitoids Chelonus insularis and Eiphosma laphygmae with a view to them forming part of an Integrated Pest Management strategy or classical biological control approach.

Meanwhile, Dr Shengyong Wu will work with Dr Emma Jenner on the Biopesticides Portal which aims to helping farmers and advisors to identify, source and apply
more sustainable biological control products in the fight against agricultural pests and diseases. Dr Wu and Dr Jenner will collaborate on adding to it a list, in Chinese and English, of biopesticide products available for farmers and advisors in China.

Visiting scientists

Dr Shengyong Wu and Dr Jingfei Guo are busy researching sustainable biological controls to fight crop pests as part of the newly established MARA China – CABI European Laboratory

Dr Hariet L. Hinz, Country Director CABI Switzerland, said, “The newly established MARA China – CABI European Laboratory welcomes Dr Guo and Dr Wu to start the first two projects to advance the science and application of biological controls for the benefit of fighting significant crop pests such as the fall armyworm.”

Dr Ulrich Kuhlmann, CABI’s Executive Director of Global Operations, added “We anticipate that following this initial collaboration further joint efforts will emanate from our partnership with MARA and CAAS which will undoubtedly pave the way for sustainable agricultural development not only in China but further afield.”

The European Laboratory is closely affiliated with the existing MARA-CABI Joint Laboratory for Biosafety, located in Beijing at IPP-CAAS, and is governed by the existing Joint Laboratory Steering Committee. The directors of the European lab are Dr Julian Chen (Head of international cooperation and graduate student management department, IPP-CAAS, China) and Dr Hariet Hinz (Director, CABI Switzerland). Dr Fang Tian (IPP-CAAS, China) and Dr Stefan Toepfer (CABI) were nominated as co-liaison secretaries of the European Lab.

Dr Guo and Dr Wu serve to employ a new model of international scientific and technological exchange and cooperation by carrying out research and development activities in agricultural science and technology with international influence and contributions to the Belt and Road initiative. It is anticipated that they will continue to collaborate with CABI on these two projects when they return to China.

Additional information

Find out more about the Fall armyworm from the dedicated Fall Armyworm Portal.

Learn about the Biopesticides Portal from Dr Kuhlmann’s presentation on the tool on the SCIBD platform.

The Invasive Species Compendium is an open access reference work, designed to support the work of everyone faced with the identification, prevention and management of invasive species around the world. Find out more from the dedicated webpage.