Testing bi-modal trap efficiency for controlling the fruit and shoot borer complex associated with African eggplant (Solanum aethiopicum) in Ghana
About the project
UK-registered Partner: National Institute of Agricultural Botany (NIAB) – Dr Francis Wamonje
Africa-registered Partner: University of Ghana – Dr Ken Fening
Our project aimed to develop an effective, affordable, and environmentally friendly approach to control the eggplant fruit and shoot borer (EFSB) in Ghana, an indigenous vegetable crop. Chemical pesticides are costly, and resistance in Leucinodes spp. further limits their effectiveness. Therefore, we investigated a bi-modal approach using light and pheromone traps to increase trap catches by at least 50%.
We tested three lamps emitting different wavelengths of UV (365 nm), blue (450 nm), and cool white (520 nm), coupled with a pheromone trap for L. orbonalis. Preliminary data from our field experiments showed that the UV light (365nm) provided the highest additive effect on pheromone traps. In addition, we generated molecular taxonomic data to identify the diversity of Leucinodes moths affecting eggplants in Ghana collected from 7 locations: Begoro, Nsawam, Asuboi, Senchi, Azagonorkope, University of Ghana Farm and Adeiso.
Using DNA barcoding techniques for Lepidoptera we made the discovery that Leucinodes africensis was the dominant species causing damage to the African eggplant. We also detected Leucinodes laisalis in two samples. Importantly, we did not detect any Leucinodes orbonalis which was the species expected to be present, as it has been intercepted previously in aubergine (Solanum melongena) exported to the UK.
Our results are the first reports for Leucinodes africensis and Leucinodes laisalis attacking African eggplant (Solanum aethiopicum) in Ghana. This new insight into the diversity of Leucinodes species will inform future research on pest management strategies. Additionally the 83 DNA barcode sequences generated will be uploaded to GenBank public database providing valuable new sequence information for other researchers around the world.
Our project outcomes provide preliminary data of a potentially effective bi-modal approach to control EFSB in Ghana, which is a cost-effective and environmentally friendly alternative to chemical pesticides. Additionally, our findings establish that it is L. africensis and L. laisalis that are of concern to African eggplant cultivation in Ghana. Our results will contribute to improving the yield and marketability of eggplants, which can benefit farmers and the economy.
Learn more about the project in this recording from our recent GCRF AgriFood Africa Project Showcase event.