Brazil is considered the world's largest citrus grower and orange juice exporter. Although it is competitive, the Brazilian citriculture is vulnerable, in function of constant threats from pests and diseases, which, in certain circumstances, may become limiting factors to the production. Among the pests of economic importance, the mite Brevipalpus phoenicis (Geijskes), vector of Citrus leprosis virus (CiLV), is considered one of the main pests, responsible for a significant portion of citrus production cost in Brazil, because of the necessity of frequent acaricide applications for its control. Among the biological control agents, the mites of the family Phytoseiidae are the most important, being highly effective against the leprosis mite. The objectives of this project are: to assess the influence of weeds on the population dynamics of predatory mites and Brevipalpus phoenicis in citrus agroecosystem and evaluate the influence of fertilization in citrus on the interactions among predatory mites, B. phoenicis, leprosis virus (acquisition and transmission) and citrus plants. Studies on the influence of predaceous mites on the interactions among the vector mite (B. phoenicis), Citrus leprosis virus (CiLV) and citrus plants are unprecedented in Brazil and could bring relevant information for the establishment of leprosis management in citrus in the country, in order to reduce the problems caused by the disease.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: