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Main research question/goal
Mites of the Eriophyidae, Tetranychidae and Tarsonemidae families cause problems in crops such as black berry, red currant, raspberry, strawberry and azalea. All of these mites lead similar lifestyles: they are usually tiny and live their entire life cycle hidden in the plant. This makes them difficult to monitor until an outburst of symptoms appears. For many of these mites, an efficient, sustainable and IPM based strategy for control does not exist. The UNIFORCE project aims to exchange experience and expertise on these mites between the different project partners: PCS and ILVO (Belgium), UJI (Spain), DLO (The Netherlands) and Agroscope (Switzerland). The best and applied strategies are evaluated for berries and azalea, based on the tritrophic interaction between plant, pest and natural enemies.

Research approach
ILVO has studied broad mites (fam. Tarsonemidae) in a previous project. HPLC techniques (LC-MS/MS) were developed for the analysis of stress levels in the plants by the analysis of defense related hormones: salicylic and jasmonic acid. The know-how developed for the analysis of these compounds in azalea is now used in the current project for the analysis of stress related hormones in other crops. New at ILVO is that now also volatile compounds related to plant defense will be analyzed by GC-MS. ILVO will also work on new determination and detection methods for the mite species and the occurrence of natural enemies. Tools will be developed for growers to detect harmful mites in the crop.

Small crops from all of the partner countries will be targeted. We expect the collaboration between the different European research organizations to boost the knowledge and substantiated approach in these crops. This EU project will enhance an exchange of expertise between the research partners and will give the grower practical, research-based IPM solutions. The growers will receive ready to use, useful tools and recommendations, such as practical guidelines on how to recognize mites and monitor the presences of different mite species. Efficient IPM crop protection tools will be developed in berries and azalea. These results will be supported by collaborative work with growers starting at the beginning of the project.
Effective start/end date30/05/1629/05/18

ID: 4233570