Thrips Pheromones project

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Posted on 07 February 2020

William Kirk and Falko Drijfhout awarded £31K to develop solid-injection technique to identify thrips pheromones for applications in UK horticulture.

lab worker CAEP members Professor William Kirk and Dr Falko Drijfhout have been awarded £31,987 from the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) as part of the AHDB/BBSRC Pilot Initiative ‘Rapid response to high priority pests and diseases in UK Horticulture’. The funding will support a project titled:

Development of the solid-injection technique to identify thrips pheromones for monitoring and mass trapping in UK horticulture’.Dr Anca Covaci (right) has been employed on the 4-month project to develop a more sensitive method to detect trace amounts of pheromones in thrips and thus allow the identification of the pheromones of high priority pest species of thrips in UK horticulture.

solid injector The method will use solid injection of a few whole thrips into a gas chromatograph linked to a mass spectrometer, rather than entrainment of volatiles from hundreds or thousands of thrips.

The photograph (left) shows part of the device used for the project.

Professor Kirk gave a presentation about the project at a BBSRC meeting of the 'Horticulture and Potato Initiative' in Leeds in November 2019 and will give another presentation at the AHDB 'Protected Edibles Day' in Wellesbourne in March 2020. An important element of the project is the dissemination of the results to the horticulture industry in the UK.