Knowledge Transfer Partnership to control Thrips and Whitefly

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Posted on 24 October 2014
Keele has a long established reputation for research excellence in insect-borne diseases and chemical ecology. This KTP award with Russell IPM provides an excellent example of how our internationally-leading research has huge societal relevance and has the potential to have major economic, environmental and health benefits. - Professor Mark Ormerod, Pro Vice-Chancellor Research and Enterprise and institutional lead for Environment and Sustainability

Keele and Russell IPM Ltd have been awarded funding for a Knowledge Transfer Partnership to design improved traps for the control of thrips and whitefly, which have a huge impact on global food production.

Whitefly attacks vegetables grown in greenhouses and open field crops. There are around 57 whitefly species that are particularly damaging to crops, not only by feeding on the plants themselves but by carrying disease-causing viruses as well.  These insects are major pests in the UK and worldwide.

Keele scientists -led by Dr William Kirk and Professor Gordon Hamilton in the School of Life Sciences will work with Russell IPM Ltd, leading manufacturers of insect-pheromone-based monitoring and control products.  They will transfer knowledge and skills to the company to improve traps for the control of these pests in greenhouse crops during the two year partnership.  Dr Kirk and Professor Hamilton are international leaders in the field of insect trapping.  Keele will also employ a KTP Associate, Dr Clare Sampson, to work on the project.