The aim of the 'Green Challenges' project is to crops under glass stronger and more resistent, so pests and diseases have less chance. This project is funded by the Top Sector Horticulture and Starting Materials and the Productschap Tuinbouw.
Together with field experts we developed potential systems for chrysanthemum to get to a more successful control of pests. Currently in the first phase of cultivation chrysanthemum pests are chemical controlled, inhibiting a rapid establishment of natural enemies in the crop. As a result pests like trips are insufficiently suppressed. A chemical start would be unnecessary when we could start immediately with an army of biological control agents. To achieve this chrysanthemum breeders can use generalist predatory bugs to lay eggs in the chrysanthemum cuttings.
Young Orius bugs, which hatch after about a week, can be kept alive with the help of alternative food. Besides trips they eat various other pest species. This year, the concept will be tested in a series of greenhouse experiments, focussing on the effect with alternative food sources and irrigation.
The project is implemented in cooperation with LTO Glaskracht Nederland and various other stakeholders. There is also a collaboration with the Dutch Institute for Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) to examine microbial communities that can improve plant resistance.