Source: University of Maryland Eastern Shore submitted to
DEVELOPING AND IMPLEMENTING OF INTEGRATED INSECT PEST MANAGEMENT AND FOOD SAFETY PRACTICES FOR CUCURBIT PRODUCTION IN THE US-DELMARVA PENINSULA
Sponsoring Institution
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Project Status
EXTENDED
Funding Source
Reporting Frequency
Annual
Accession No.
1015079
Grant No.
2018-38821-27749
Project No.
MDX-FS20180202
Proposal No.
2017-07465
Multistate No.
(N/A)
Program Code
EQ
Project Start Date
Apr 1, 2018
Project End Date
Mar 31, 2023
Grant Year
2018
Project Director
Zebelo, S.
Recipient Organization
University of Maryland Eastern Shore
11868 College Backborne Road
Princess Anne,MD 21853
Performing Department
(N/A)
Non Technical Summary
This multi-institutional project integrates research, education, and extension to develop and implement organic pest management and food safety practices for cucurbits (cucumbers, squash, pumpkins etc.). Demand for organic fruits and vegetables in the Delmarva region is increasing, however the lack of effective organically-based insect pest management (IPM) is a key challenge limiting production. Moreover, manure-based soil amendments used in organic systems present a risk from fecal pathogens. Vectoring of fecal microbes by insect pests onto cucurbits currently is not quantified or estimable in the region, therefore this project's long-term goal is to expand the safe organic cucurbit production in the Delmarva region by providing science-based organic IPM practices. Briefly, the specific objectives includes: 1) Development of effective attractants and trap crops for the management of cucumber beetles; 2) Evaluate the mechanical transmission of fecal microbes from manure-amended soil to cucurbit fruits; and 3) Provide IPM and food safety training in classes, e-learning, internships for students and workshops for farmers and educators. Laboratory, greenhouse and field experiments will be conducted using analytical, electrophysiological, molecular and behavioral techniques to achieve the research objectives. Watermelon and cantaloupe will serve as model cucurbits, with results transferable to other cucurbits. Graduate (n=2), undergraduate (n=9) and intern (n=6) students will be trained in pest management, food safety, data and eXtension communications. Plus thirty farmers and Ag-Extension agents are expected to participate in workshops/webinars/eOrganics,. The major expected outcome of the project includes an increase in the acreage of certified organic produce in the Delmarva.
Animal Health Component
0%
Research Effort Categories
Basic
40%
Applied
50%
Developmental
10%
Classification

Knowledge Area (KA)Subject of Investigation (SOI)Field of Science (FOS)Percent
2161420113070%
2111420302020%
7111420116010%
Goals / Objectives
The long-term goal of this project is to expand organic cucurbit production in the Delmarva region. Specifically, this proposal will develop UMES' capacity to develop and apply effective IPM strategies using watermelon and/or cantaloupe as a model. To achieve this, the project will address the following specific objectives:Development of effective tactics for the management of cucumber beetles in organic watermelon and cantaloupe production including attractants and trap crops (Research).Evaluate organically-approved remedial tools for managing insect pests that occur on watermelon (Research).Evaluate the mechanical transmission ofDevelop and deliver IPM and food safety e-learning and internship opportunities for students (Education).Develop a course on the ecology of organic pest management (Education).Train farmers and educators in IPM and food safety (Extension and Outreach)
Project Methods
General Experimental Procedures: This project will involve laboratory, greenhouse, and field studies. Watermelons and/or cantaloupe will be grown in the organic section of the UMES Plant Growth Center Greenhouse. Field trials will be conducted on certified organic land at MD and DE.Objective 1: Development of effective tactics for the management of cucumber beetles in organic watermelon and cantaloupe production including attractants and trap crops. Laboratory bioassay (four-choice olfactometer): Behavioral bioassay of cucumber beetles will be done as described by (Balusu and Fadamiro, 2011). The following cultivars of summer squash plants will serve as hosts: Sunbar, Seneca Prolifi, Goldbar and slender gold. A four-choice olfactometer, consisting of a square-shaped stage (2 x 12 x 12") on four 6" legs, with orifices connected through Teflon-glass tubes to a multi-pump-equipped air delivery system (Fig 2). Purified and humidified air will pass through the jar where the cucurbit hosts of key insect pests will be placed. The air will be drawn at a constant rate of 100 ml/min through the extending orifices (arms) and removed by suction via a vacuum pump through the central orifice of the olfactometer at the rate of 500 mL/min. Equal age of cucurbits insects will be used for the test and prior to the test the insects will be starved for 24 hours. Data obtained will be analyzed using ANOVA followed by Tukey Kramer's HSD. Methods used in volatile collections from host plants, electroantennogram (EAG) bioassays and behavioral bioassays to confirm activity of extracted headspace volatiles were discussed in the main proposal narrative.Objective 2 (Research): Evaluate organically-approved remedial tools for managing insect pests that occur on watermelon.Evaluation of OMRI approved pesticides: OMRI approved pesticide will be used as treatment such as 1) Entrust (2 oz/acre) season long; 2) PyGanic (2 pints/acre) season long; 3) Neem products, season long; 4) Entrust® alternated with PyGanic; 5) Entrust® alternated with Neem products; and 6) Control (untreated). Plots will be provided as describe in objective 1 above. Each treatment will be replicated four times and arranged in a RCBD. Treatments will be applied with a hand sprayer calibrated to deliver about 25 gpa at 40 psi. Treatments will be reapplied bi-weekly or earlier if/when sampling data indicate that the nominal threshold of 1 adult main insect pests per plant has been attained. Plots will be evaluated weekly and at harvest by sampling ten randomly selected plants from each plot for cucumber beetles densities and feeding holes (damage ratings). Damage ratings will be based on a scale of 1 to 4 (1: no damage; 2: low damage; 3: medium damage and 4: high damage). The most effective treatments will be selected for further evaluation in larger plots in year 2 and 3.Objective 3 (Research): Evaluate the mechanical transmission of pathogens from manure-amended soil to watermelon and cantaloupe fruits. Laboratory study: Composted and stored/stacked (not composted) manure from poultry litter, sheep/goat and dairy will be mixed with sandy loam soil at the rate of 2 ton/acre; 30cm diam. plastic containers will be filled with the soil-manure mixture. Stacked, stored manure composts will be conducted at UMES and BARC. The experiment will be designed in randomized complete design (CRD) with three manure sources (litter, sheep/goat and dairy), with two manure types (composted and non-composted manure), three treatments (sterilized manure (control), unsterilized manure and sterilized manure treated with non-pathogenic E. coli) and these will be replicated at least three times (n=54). Prior the start of the experiment soil mixed with composted and non-composted manure will be analyzed for pH, electrical conductivity, total nitrogen, water soluble phosphorus, soluble carbon, volatile solids, moisture content, according to standard methods (Thompson et al., 2000) to characterize their stability to support the activity of pathogenic and non-pathogenic inoculums. For microbial and chemical analysis referee the main text.Objective 4 (Education): Develop and deliver IPM and food safety e-learning and internship opportunities for students.Provide summer internships for undergraduate and graduate students to participate in IPM and food safety related researches. In year 3 of this project, 8-week summer intern scholarships will be offered competitively to upper level undergraduates students with GPA>3.0. Evaluation of applicants will be conducted according to fair, open, non-discriminatory rules used by USDA and all participating institutions on the project, and be based on the applicant's response to a request for essay on a topic of importance in agriculture and food safety, their GPA, and faculty recommendation. Summer intern scholarships will provide stipends, travel expenses, and subsistence for 8-wks for a total of six upper level undergraduates and graduate students in year 3 of the project. These student interns will be mentored and learn a variety of new microbiological investigative techniques and approaches used in evaluating the safety of water, soil amendments, and produce in one of several laboratories including: UMES, UMCP and USDA-ARS.Objective 5 (Education): Develop a hybrid course on the ecology of organic pest management.Develop and establish a hybrid course on the ecology of organic pest management for agriculture and food sciences undergraduate and graduate students at UMCP and UMES. A hybrid course is a course that comprises traditional face-to-face "seat time" and online learning activities. We will develop a hybrid course: "Ecology of Organic Pest Management" Upon completion of the course the students will: 1) Cultivate critical and analytical thinking skills that may be applied in a real life context for solving pest problems that are amiable with organic farming; 2) know the link between ecological pest management and agriculture sustainability, and 3) be able to develop ecofriendly pest management strategies that target multiple pest complexes. This course will be available to students from at UMES and UMCP in the fall of 2018, and will be offered by faculties from the UMES and UMCP (See the abbreviated course syllabus in attached in the additional documents).Objective 6 (Extension and Outreach): Train farmers and educators in IPM and food safetyThis objective will implement IPM and food safety programs for limited-resource growers. The growers will be trained on IPM and food safety and receive technical assistance on implementing the environmental friendly tactics of pest management, through interactive hands-on workshops. This will reduce the risks of pesticide and microbial contamination of fresh produce and prepare small- to mid-scale organic and conventional produce growers for GAPs compliance. To address this objective we will employ the following methods.

Progress 04/01/20 to 03/31/21

Outputs
Target Audience:Students, Scientists, and growers Changes/Problems:Due to COVID19, we could not run two objectives that mainly focus on education (internship) and extension, which were supposed to get delivered last summer. As per the proposal, these objectives would involve in-person field and lab demonstrations. However, it was difficult to run this program in the social distancing era. We are planning to execute these two objectives in person if the COVID19 situation improved. If not, we will perform them using an online platform. Moreover, Objective 3 deals with the mechanical transmission of fecal bacteria via insect pests. This objective was running well until qrtPCR machine malfunctioned. We are planning to finalize this in the upcoming season. ? What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Three undergraduate and three graduate students had the opportunity to get trained in organic pest management of cucurbits pests -- moreover, the students trained in experimental design, data collection, and analysis. The experimental trial conducted in the field owned by the new, underserved farmer. The farmer participated in field preparations and other agronomic practices.See the following link for more information https://www.lancasterfarming.com/news/southern_edition/trap-cropshelp-deter-pests/article_00935669-e68c-56f6-ab79-56a48814cc42.html How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?Farmers, extension agents, faculty, and students attended the viritual small farm conference symposium on integrated pest management of fruit and vegetable sessions in November 2020 What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Due to COVID19, we could not run two objectives 4&6 that mainly focus on education (internship) and extension, which were supposed to get delivered last summer. As per the proposal, these objectives would involve in-person field and lab demonstrations. However, it was difficult to run this program in the social distancing era. We are planning to execute these two objectives in person if the COVID19 situation improved. If not, we will perform them using an online platform. ?Objective 3.Evaluate the mechanical transmission of fecal bacteria via insect pests, and this objective was running well until qrtPCR machine malfunctioned. We are planning to finalize this in the upcoming season.

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Objective 1: Development of effective tactics for the management of cucumber beetles in organic watermelon and cantaloupe production, including attractants and trap crops (Research). This study evaluated the efficacy of using four summer squash (Cucurbita pepo) cultivars as a trap crop in the watermelon fields.The studies' objectives were: 1) to evaluate host preferences of cucumber beetles of four summer squashes and watermelon, and 2) to evaluate the effectiveness of trap cropping to manage cucumber beetles in watermelon production. Cucumber beetles' host preference was assessed using four summer squashes and watermelon leaves in a laboratory assay. The preliminary field trial was conducted to analyze cucumber beetles' behavior and response in a natural environment. The trap crop on-farm trial was conducted to ensure the consistency of the previous experiments' results. The results from these three studies revealed that cucumber beetles have a preference for yellowfin squash. Cucumber beetle population increase within fields without trap crops. However, insect population could vary if wilting trap crops are not replaced with healthy squash plants after five weeks. Our findings indicated thatcucumber beetles prefer squashes compared to watermelon. Therefore, squash trap crops have the potential to cause a significant decrease in cucumber beetle populations, which affects the productivity of watermelon crops. This experiment provides farmers with the data that supports the use of squash trap crops to prevent cucumber beetles from feeding on main crops. Objective 2. Evaluate organically-approved remedial tools for managing insect pests that occur on watermelon (Research). Two Organic Materials Review Institute (OMRI) approved pesticides (Azera and Azagard) were used to control cucumber beetles and other cucurbit pests in field conditions. There were a high number of cucurbit pests in non-treated plots when compared with the treated plots. Objective 3. Evaluate the mechanical transmission of fecal bacteria via insect pests, and this objective was running well until qrtPCR machine malfunctioned. We are planning to finalize this in the upcoming season. Objective 5. Develop a course on the ecology of organic pest management (Education). Graduate-level advanced integrated pest management (ENTO 612) developed and taught in spring 2019 and 2020 and scheduled to be taught this semester. In total, 15 students enrolled in this course. Objectives 4 and 6. Develop and deliver IPM and food safety e-learning and internship opportunities for students (Education). Train farmers and educators in IPM and food safety (Extension and Outreach) Due to COVID19, we could not run two objectives 4&6 that mainly focus on education (internship) and extension, which were supposed to get delivered last summer. As per the proposal, these objectives would involve in-person field and lab demonstrations. However, it was difficult to run this program in the social distancing era. We are planning to execute these two objectives in person if the COVID19 situation improved. If not, we will perform them using an online platform.

Publications

  • Type: Theses/Dissertations Status: Accepted Year Published: 2020 Citation: Lenneisha Gilbert.2020. Evaluating the use of Squash Varieties as Trap Crop of Cucumber Beetles in Watermelon Fields. MSc thesis.


Progress 04/01/19 to 03/31/20

Outputs
Target Audience:Vegetable and field crop producers, extention agents and students Changes/Problems:Difficult to perform the experiments as planned due to COVID19. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Three undergraduate and three graduate students had the opportunity to get trained in organic pest management of cucurbits pests -- moreover, the students trained in experimental design, data collection, and analysis. The experimental trial conducted in the field owned by the new, underserved farmer. The farmer participated in field preparations and other agronomic practices.See the following link for more information https://www.lancasterfarming.com/news/southern_edition/trap-crops-help-deter-pests/article_00935669-e68c-56f6-ab79-56a48814cc42.html How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest?The results disseminated: by performing on-farm demonstrations, some farmers were direct participants in the development of new IPM tools and by presenting at UMES small farm conference. During the field visit, the visitors educated on cucumber beetle management using summer squash as a trap crop in watermelon fields. Farmers, extension agents, faculty, and students attended the small farm conference symposium on integrated pest management of fruit and vegetable sessions in November 2019.? What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals?Conduct more field experiments and present updates and findings at professional conference and extension events ?

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Yellowfin attracted the most cucumber beetles. Followed by Tempest, Dunja, and Desert. High number of beetles recorded on watermelon plots without border (trap crop), and this indicates that Dunja, Tempest, Desert, or Yellowfin squash crops have the potential to be an effective trap crop for watermelon. Further studies underway to determine what chemical signals are being released from squash crops that attract cucumber beetles. Alongside the above experiment, our collaborators from UMD College Park run one replicated field trial that was completed successfully during one growing season (2019) in MD and two additional field trials were initiated during the current growing season (2020) and are ongoing. The purpose of these field investigations is to determine the impact of using two perennial living mulches on communities of insect pests and natural enemies in cantaloupe plantings and determine if living mulches can serve as overwintering habitats for beneficial arthropods. Emphasis is placed on beneficial arthropods that would use spotted cucumber beetles as prey or host. The experiment consists of three treatments: 1) cantaloupe interplanted into alsike clover living mulch, 2) cantaloupe interplanted into Virginia wild rye living mulch, and 3) monoculture cantaloupe (grown in bare-ground). The initial field trial was used as part of a field day event and the project was shared with a wide-ranging audience that consisted of farmers, ag-chemical industry, extension, and state and federal agency personnel, graduate students, Postdocs and researchers This objective might be postponed to 2021 due to COVID19 ?

Publications

  • Type: Conference Papers and Presentations Status: Published Year Published: 2020 Citation: Gilbert L., Zebelo S., et al. 2020 Developing and Implementing of Integrated Insect Pest Management and Food Safety Practices for Cucurbit Production in Central Maryland and the Delmarva Peninsula. Emerging Researcher National (ERN) conference held in January 2020 in Washington DC
  • Type: Websites Status: Published Year Published: 2020 Citation: Yoder M, Zebelo S. 2020. Trap Crops Help Deter Pests. Lancaster Farming at https://www.lancasterfarming.com/news/southern_edition/trap-crops-help-deter-pests/article_00935669-e68c-56f6-ab79-56a48814cc42.html


Progress 04/01/18 to 03/31/19

Outputs
Target Audience:Vegetable and field crop producers, extention agents and students Changes/Problems:The major problem was the weather, last year the rain started raining early in spring, and it keeps raining until the first few weeks of summer. This cause delays in planting and significantly impacted the study. What opportunities for training and professional development has the project provided?Three undergraduate and one graduate students had the opportunity to get trained in organic pest management of cucurbits pests -- moreover, the students trained in experimental design, data collection, and analysis. The experimental trial conducted in the field owned by the new, underserved farmer. The farmer participated in field preparations and other agronomic practices. How have the results been disseminated to communities of interest? The results disseminated: by performing on-farm demonstrations, some farmers were direct participants in the development of new IPM tools and by presenting at UMES small farm conference. Thirty-five Virginia State University small farm staff, their underserved farmer clientele, and landowners participated in a showcase of some of the research and/or agricultural activities conducted at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. During the field visit, the visitors educated on cucumber beetle management using summer squash as a trap crop in watermelon fields.Forty-three farmers, extension agents, faculty and students attended the small farm conference symposium on integrated pest management of fruit and vegetable session. What do you plan to do during the next reporting period to accomplish the goals? Development of effective tactics for the management of cucumber beetles in organic watermelon and cantaloupe production including attractants and trap crops (Research). In year two, we are planning to repeat behavioral bioassay on volatile collected from the headspace volatiles of squash and watermelon flowers to develop attractants and repellants. And run advanced behavioral assays (GC-EAD). A field experiment on trap crops will continue on campus and farmers field. 2. Evaluate organically-approved remedial tools for managing insect pests that occur on watermelon To achieve this objective, there is an ongoing experiment for as described above in goals accomplished. 3. Evaluate the mechanical transmission of pathogens from manure-amended soil to watermelon and cantaloupe fruits. Graduate student has been hired to run this experiment. Composted and stored/stacked (not composted) manure from poultry litter, sheep/goat and dairy will be mixed with sandy loam soil at the rate of 2 ton/acre; 30cm diam. plastic containers will be filled with the soil-manure mixture. Stacked, stored manure composts will be conducted at UMES and BARC. The experiment will be designed in randomized complete design (CRD) with three manure sources (litter, sheep/goat and dairy), with two manure types (composted and non-composted manure), three treatments (sterilized manure (control), unsterilized manure and sterilized manure treated with non-pathogenic E. coli) and these will be replicated at least three times (n=54).

Impacts
What was accomplished under these goals? Development of effective tactics for the management of cucumber beetles in organic watermelon and cantaloupe production including attractants and trap crops (Research). Choice experiment executed using flowers from four summer squash varieties (Desert, Dunja, Yellowfin, and Tempest) and field collected striped cucumber beetles. And the headspace volatile collected using volatile collection system from squash and watermelon flowers with and without beetles. The volatiles yet to be analyzed using GCMS. There were no significant differences in the choice test on the preference of the beetles. Moreover, anexperiment aimed to reduce cucumber beetle damage on watermelon using attractive trap crops nd observe the impact of these attractive trap crops on arthropod pollinators conducted on campus and farmer's field. Four summer squash varieties (Desert, Dunja, Yellowfin, and Tempest) were planted along the borders (perimeter) of the test watermelon plot. Each test plot were ~ 80 ft long x 30 ft wide (3 rows 10ft apart, ~4-6 ft plant spacing ten plants per raw). Watermelon plot without perimeter planting of trap crop used as a control. Each variety was replicated four times and arranged in a complete randomized block design. The number of striped and spotted cucumber beetles were recorded in the watermelon plots with and without perimeter trap crops. Moreover, the number of visiting pollinators were recorded in watermelon, and the trap crops (summer squashes).Yellowfin summer squash variety attracted more beetles than the other three varieties. Despite low pressure from insect pest the watermelon yield was significantly low, this might be due too low number of pollinator recorded in the watermelon plants than in the perimeter trap crops. 2. Evaluate organically-approved remedial tools for managing insect pests that occur on watermelon (Research). On May 2nd, 2019, four summer squash (Desert) and watermelon (Crimson red) seeds were sown in a pot using organically approved soil (Promix). The plants were transplanted on May 24th, 2019, to the certified organic field at UMES campus. This experiment is in progress as this report prepared. OMRI approved pesticide will be used as treatment such as 1) Entrust (2 oz/acre) season long; 2) PyGanic (2 pints/acre) season long; 3) Neem products, season long; 4) Entrust® alternated with PyGanic; 5) Entrust® alternated with Neem products; and 6) Control (untreated). Plots will be provided as described in objective one above. Each treatment will be replicated four times and arranged in a RCBD. Treatments will be applied with a hand sprayer calibrated to deliver about 25 gpa at 40 psi. Treatments will be reapplied bi-weekly or earlier if/when sampling data indicate that the nominal threshold of 1 adult main insect pests per plant has been attained. Plots will be evaluated weekly and at harvest by sampling ten randomly selected plants from each plot for cucumber beetles densities and feeding holes (damage ratings). Damage ratings will be based on a scale of 1 to 4 (1: no damage; 2: low damage; 3: medium damage and 4: high damage). The most effective treatments will be selected for further evaluation in larger plots in year 2 and 3. 3. Evaluate the mechanical transmission of pathogens from manure-amended soil to watermelon and cantaloupe fruits. This experiment yet to be started, but a graduate student has been hired to run this experiment. 4.Develop and deliver IPM and food safety e-learning and internship opportunities for students (Education). Three minority undergraduate students will be offered an internship in year three. 5. Develop a course on the ecology of organic pest management (Education). Graduate level an advanced integrated pest management (ENTO 612) course developed and taught in spring 2019. 6. Train farmers and educators in IPM and food safety (Extension and Outreach) This objective will be accomplished in year three of the project.

Publications