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Diamondback moth, Plutella xylostella

Adult diamondback moth
Pupae and larva of diamondback moth
Fungus attack on larvae

Around the world, diamondback moth (DBM) is a major threat to those much loved vegetables, brassicas (cabbages, cauliflowers and other related greens). It is attacked by the fungus, Zoopthora radicans, but too late in the season to help growers.

In a novel approach, the insects themselves will be used to spread the fungal spores to other DBM earlier in the season than the natural outbreaks would occur. Male moths, attracted to inoculation stations by pheromones (sex attractants), will pick up the fungal spores and then spread them through the DBM population.

This 'auto-dissemination', has advantages over chemical insecticides, both in terms of environmental and economic sustainability and avoidance of resistance problems. This is particularly important because of the advantages that 'clean and green' produce confers upon our export and domestic markets.

The research is being done in collaboration with researchers in several European Union nations, Cuba and Mexico.


Supported by: Australian Government's Backing Australia's Ability Innovation Access Programme

Diamondback moth trap in cabbages