Potato moths update April 2016

The BIOCOMES research will identify and characterize the entomopathogenic Phthorimaea operculella granulovirus (PhopGV) suitable for control of potato moths and tomato leaf miner.

In BIOCOMES research we achieved so far:

  • A propagation of all BIOCOMES covered PhopGV isolates
  • An optimization of bioassays on potato slices in the absence of a proper working artificial diet
  • Determination of the LC50 to value the biological activity of the isolates
  • Whole genome sequencing of isolates with the best in vivo activity against Phthorimaea operculella
  • Preliminaries for a field test with a formulated test product

Biological and molecular characterization

The second year of the project focused on the biological and molecular characterization of the collected naturally occurring virus isolates from Italy, Greece and the Canary Islands. Different biological activities could be observed in bioassays, and also a genetic variation of the collected PhopGV field isolates compared to the isolates from project partners’ virus libraries.

Soil samples

The collected soil samples from the BIOCOMES partners BIOGARD and Hellafarm showed an unexpected high natural appearance of PhopGV isolates, that seemed to have a low variability to another. But genetically differences and a diverse activity in bioassays could be observed. Further isolates have been found in Canary Island’s populations, which were analyzed by the project partner from the Public University of Navarra (UPNA).

Isolates which showed the best activity in bioassays were sequenced using next generation technique by JKI Darmstadt and UPNA. Due to different climatic conditions, spatial separation of populations and adaptations to different hosts, we expect some genetical variation within the PhopGV isolates.

 Upcoming tasks:

  • Determination of the LT50 values of most active selected isolates
  • Efficacy studies in greenhouses and field
  • Optimization of product parameters

Following the developments for the upcoming field tests in 2016, we are looking forward to obtain first results to estimate the efficacy of the experimental products, which are produced and formulated by Andermatt Biocontrol.

See our earlier update on potato moths:

Read more about our activities on potato moths

Close-up view of Phthorimaea operculella larvae on a potato tuber. Holes and excrement of larvae benefit the occurrence of mould and gain the damage. (Picture: Simon Feiertag – JKI)

Leaf miner update april 2016


Johannes Jehle
Johannes Jehle
Tomato leaf miner, potato moths