Petroleum spray for cotton aphids

29 January, 2004

SACOA Pty Ltd, an Australian company that specializes in the development, and supply of Spray oils and Adjuvants, is funding a Cotton CRC PhD student to investigate the mechanism of tolerance of cotton aphids (Aphis gossypii) to petroleum spray oils (PSOs) on cotton.

__Dr Robert Mensah, Principal Research Scientist with NSW Agriculture, said aphids have emerged as a major pest of cotton, causing significant yield losses, acting as a suspect vector of Bunchy Top disease, and developing a resistance to synthetic insecticides.

The project will lead to a better understanding of PSO use pattern against aphids, increased use of PSOs to control aphids, reduced reliance on synthetic insecticides, improved performance of the natural enemies of aphids, and improved sustainability and profitability in the cotton industry.

*Pictured: *Left to Right: Kym Orman, Cotton CRC Business Manager, Dr Robert Mensah, NSW Agriculture, Justin Matthews (seated) and Andrew Johnston, a SACOA agronomist.

Previous research has shown that cotton aphids are susceptible to PSOs, but the mechanisms underlying their efficacy has not yet been demonstrated.

The new PhD project will develop an understanding of these mechanisms in transgenic and non-transgenic crops, providing a guide to product use and application technology.

Part of the three-year study involves an assessment of the impact of oil residues on aphid development, feeding behaviour, reproductive rate, survival and population abundance on cotton in the laboratory and the field.

The project is based on the results of extensive research on fruit, vegetables and cotton, in which PSOs have been shown to be efficacious against major pests of these crops, including mites, thrips and heliothis.

The PhD student selected to undertake the postgraduate scholarship, Adriana Najar, will be enrolled at the University of Queensland, with research taking place in Narrabri and Brisbane.

Joint supervisors of the research project are Associate Professor Gimme Walter (Department of Zoology and Entomology UQ) and Dr Robert Mensah (Principal Research Scientist with NSW Agriculture) at the Australian Cotton Research Institute, Narrabri.

SACOA will have rights to register and market successful formulations and products developed as a result of the project.

_Further information: _Guy Roth 0417 223 179
Assoc. Prof. Gimme Walter 07 3365 2228
Dr Robert Mensah 02 6799 1500