Innovative Tools and Methods for Mating Disruption of the Carob Moth

Award Information
Agency: Department of Agriculture
Branch: N/A
Contract: 2005-33610-15510
Agency Tracking Number: 2005-00053
Amount: $80,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: N/A
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: N/A
Small Business Information
P.O. Box 5266, Riverside, CA, 92517
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 Agenor Mafra-Neto
 (951) 686-5008
Business Contact
 Agenor Mafra-Neto
Phone: (951) 686-5008
Research Institution
The California date industry produces about 20,000 tons of dates annually with a gross value of about $50 million. The only significant pest of dates is the carob moth Ectomyelois ceratoniae (Pyralidae), a recent immigrant species and a key pest of the California date industry that can devastate entire crops if left unchecked. This serious pest of many other crops around the world is now moving to other high-cash nut and fruit commodities in California. Pesticides currently registered for dates not only have little effect suppressing the moth, but also disturb the ecological balance of orchards. Insect sex pheromones can be used as a safe alternative, but controlled release technology, formulation deployment and the economical chemical synthesis remain key impediments to their widespread use. Both the carob moth pheromone and its equally attractive and more stable formate mimic are very difficult to synthesize and are not commercially available. The success of this project will provide date growers with the first viable commercial product for the control of the carob moth which also meets the requirements for organically certifiable orchards. The optimization of a formulation and delivery system that protects a highly labile formate component in very hot and inhospitable environments (like date orchards) will very likely be applicable to other industries as well.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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