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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

Menu Logo Principal AgroBRC

The Biological Resource Centre for the Environment (BRC4Env)


BRCs and collections provide resources mainly useful for the biological control of pests

IMPULsE: development and integration of innovative methods for the control of thumbtack in vegetable crops (2017-2019)

Funding: CASDAR

Leader: CTIFL

Summary: Damage caused by plant bugs in vegetable crops under shelter and in the open field is increasing for several years and can lead to up to 90% crop losses. Today, these pests are appearing as a counter-example of the effectiveness of biological protection and induce a significant risk of future failure, demotivating producers to initiate a conversion to organic control/production strategies. These pests therefore appear as a real lock to be lifted in organic farming and integrated protection. It is necessary to develop new biological control solutions and to propose innovative, reliable, cost-effective and responsive protection strategies - objectives of the Ecophyto II plan. Thus, this project targets three model vegetable crops (tomato, eggplant and cabbage) whose results may benefit other species (strawberry, cucumber...) and other relevant sectors e.g. field crops, orchards, ornamental horticulture.

COLBICS: collaboration between academic and commercial sectors on the development of biological control solutions to manage crop pests (2013-2016)


Leader: MALAUSA Thibaud (INRA)

Summary: Seen the societal and political demand for reduction of insecticide use in agriculture, the growth of biological control activities (crop protection methods relying on natural enemies) should be faster. In particular, the private sector of Biological Control Agent (BCA) production could access larger parts of the phytosanitary market. This slow private sector expansion can be explained by its limited R&D capacities and by the insufficient use of synergies with public research on the one side, and extension services or farm-advisors on the other.

Based on the needs expressed by stake-holders, COLBICS proposes to stimulate and accompany the growth of 3 firms, via the creation of mixed private/public R&D teams, boosting the R&D capacities of the firms. The team work will allow technological innovation applied to BCA production and optimization. Innovation will concern the research of new natural enemies, diagnostic tools and production methods reducing production costs and enhancing BCA performances, methods and tools supporting marketing strategies.

COLBICS involves 6 participants (from Belgium, France, Spain and Chile) that will exchange staff to create 3 mixed R&D teams. Intense inter-sectoral transfer of knowledge is guaranteed by the execution of fully collaborative R&D work using the firms’ BCAs, and by specific staff training. Transferred knowledge is about macro-organism identification, engineering in live organism massive production (based on simple genetic and phenotypic analyses), evaluation of BCA efficiency and integration of these BCAs in agrosystems. Particular efforts are planned on the dissemination of generic innovation, together with abundant outreach activities promoting biological control. In addition to its generic innovation impact, COLBICS will impact the 3 firms involved: objectives of turnover increase over a 5 years period have been defined and range from 25% to 400%, depending on the size and socio-economic environment of the firm."

TRIPTIC: Trichogramma for plant protection: Pangenomics, Life history traits and establishment capacities (2014-2019)

Funding: ANR

Leader: RASPLUS Jean-Yves (INRA)

Summary: France has recently adopted the Ecophyto 2018 plan, which recommends the development of effective biological control programs against pests as alternatives to pesticides. It is acknowledged that successful and safe biological control depends on 1) accurate genetic and phenotypic characterization of the strains of natural enemies released; 2) strong knowledge of their life-history traits, strategies of host exploitation and population dynamics; 3) good understanding of the processes determining their successful establishment. Nevertheless, such studies are rarely, if ever, conducted, which hampers our ability to implement efficient programs against pests. During this project, joining our complementary skills, we will tackle these topics, thereby addressing key questions in evolutionary biology about speciation, hybridization, adaptation, specialization, and interaction dynamics.

We will focus on four species complexes of the genus Trichogramma (Hymenoptera), one of the most studied and commercialized group to control pests of major economic importance in Europe. Nevertheless Trichogramma are frequently released without taxonomic, genetic, phenotypic or behaviour characterization and in-depth risk assessment study. This practice must be improved to comply with a recent decree adopted in France stipulating that macro-organisms must be precisely characterized before released, to ensure traceability and prevent unintended effects. Trichogramma species complexes are poorly understood and entities with weak reproductive barriers may exist. Strains display significant inter- and intra-population variations in biological traits that are influenced by environmental factors, and several traits important for biocontrol success have been poorly documented (e.g. movement and dispersal capacities). Infections by symbionts can influence individual fitness, reproductive isolation and ecological specialization, but there is little data on most symbionts associated with Trichogramma species. Finally their evolutionary history is poorly known.