CN, PK Scientists Join Hands To Enhance Pakistan’s Citrus Fruits Quality

Dr. Qiu and Dr. Ali noted that the first line of research focuses on the use of “lure and kill” technology to eliminate pests.

CN, PK Scientists Join Hands To Enhance Pakistan's Citrus Fruits Quality

Chinese and Pakistani scientists are working together to create biological control measures that will improve the quality and quantity of citrus fruits in Pakistan.

To that end, the two countries established a research centre in 2018 to jointly investigate green and sustainable solutions to the growing prevalence of citrus diseases across the South Asian nation.

Prof. Dr. Qiu Baoli and Prof. Dr. Shaukat Ali, director and deputy director, respectively, of the China-Pakistan citrus pest management centre, told media that while chemical measures can provide quick responses to citrus disease outbreaks, they also increase pest resistance to pesticides, posing serious environmental and health risks.

According to the researcher, the centre established by South China Agricultural University and Sargodha University has undertaken four strands of research to produce environmentally friendly solutions.

Dr. Qiu and Dr. Ali noted that the first line of research focuses on the use of “lure and kill” technology to eliminate pests. For example, researchers in six citrus-producing Pakistani cities investigated how different types of traps and lures affected the efficacy of capturing pests in citrus orchards.

Dr. Qiu said that the researchers have also been working on developing technologies to breed parasitic wasps and predatory insects, both of which are natural enemies of citrus pests. “So far, we have discovered 22 new predatory insect species, as well as 7 new genera and 2 new subgenera,” he said.

“Furthermore, the centre has been studying biological pesticides for emergency control. We want to create commercial formulas for entomopathogenic fungi that target citrus pests and test their toxicity in the lab and in the field “According to Dr. Ali, progress has been made in the investigation and evaluation of Pakistan’s entomopathogenic fungal resources.

Dr. Qiu stated, “To combat the pests effectively, we will also develop a comprehensive pest management strategy that combines various pest control strategies. The technology mix will be demonstrated and promoted in citrus orchards in Pakistan.”

Citrus greening, citrus slow decline, citrus canker, and citrus whither tip are the most damaging and spreading citrus fruits diseases in Pakistan. The best foliar symptom for determining greening is leaf mottling.

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