September 07, 2017

Isoclast™ active, a new tool in the fight against virus transmission

Imre Mezei, Biology Team Leader for Europe, outlines the vital role that Isoclast™ Active can play in controlling virus transmission.

Speaking at HPIS 2017 (Hemopteran-plant interaction symposium) in Madrid, Imre recently presented his paper to a global audience. ‘There are over 2000 phytopathogen virus species that we know about currently and many of them cause diseases that devastate key agricultural crops. With more being discovered every day, it’s crucial that we find new ways of control he began.

The majority of the most destructive plant viruses rely on biotic vectors for both transmission and survival. With their unique feeding habits, rapid population growth and high dispersal capacity, Hemipterans (whiteflies, aphids, leafhoppers) represent the largest class of virus-transmitting vectors. Causing havoc in horticultural crops all over the world they are becoming increasingly resistant to many insecticides.

‘Isoclast is a real breakthrough’, says Imre. ‘It’s the first member of the sulfoximines class of chemistry and offers a unique mode of action. As well as providing excellent knock down and residual control, it also shows a broad lack of cross-resistance. But it’s the impact of Isoclast on virus transmission that’s proving to be really significant.

The effective and fast control of vectors is essential to preventing or at least mitigating the impact of viruses. Therefore much of the research has been focused on what happens when Hemipterans start to suck the plant. ‘We know that if we can control their feeding, we can control the pest and consequently we can control virus transmission’ Imre continued.

barley field trial in Szolnok, Hungary

‘Speed is of the essence however, and if control is too slow the insect pest still has time to infect the plant. That’s where Isoclast is really proving itself, he suggests. Isoclast delivers rapid feeding cessation and whilst it doesn’t kill the pest straight away, it stops it feeding immediately. This anti-feeding effect reduces phloem sap ingestion which then severely limits the probability of virus transmission. This means lower virus infection and therefore higher quality crops and increased yields’.

Concluding, Imre said, ‘I think that what’s most important is that Isoclast can play a viable and immediate role in controlling virus transmission. I spoke with people from all over the world at HPIS and the key message coming back to me was how practical Isoclast is and how vital it could be in their on-going fight against agricultural viruses’.