Horizon Project (2022-2026)
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REACT”: Rapid elimination of invasive insect agricultural pest outbreaks by tackling them with SIT programs

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REACT is a project funded by the EU under Horizon Europe (GA in preparation. It is coordinated by the JUSTUS-LIEBIG-UNIVERSITAET GIESSEN (Giessen, Germany). The project consortium consists of 15 partners. Budget: 7 million euros. Project webpage: 'under construction'

Our role: InSilco-IPM is a formal partner of the REACT consortium, responsible for the development of stochastic simulation sub-models for Bactrocera dorsalis and B. zonata, based on its proprietary PESTonFARM software. In the REACT project, InSilco-IPM participates in 3 work packages, to (a) quantify the impact of the local terrain structure and also weather and host patterns on the fate of cryptic invasive propagules of Bz and Bz (WP1), (b) identify the key environmental drivers determining local FF establishment and early detection (WP2), and (c) develop a strategy to locally eliminate or contain medfly outbreaks (WP6).
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Project abstract: TREACT aims to develop long-term environmentally friendly response strategies and novel sustainable tools to protect fruit and vegetable production and export capacities from two invasive insect pests of EU priority, Bactrocera dorsalis (Bd) and B. zonata (Bz). The project proposes a holistic response plan to provide enhanced capacity to prevent, identify, monitor and control these pests. To assess invasion risks, REACT will characterize the main facilitators and critical drivers of early invasive processes, sources and dynamics of adventive populations, and suitable hotspots for species establishment coupled with the analysis of the potential ecological and socio-economic impacts of invasions. To fight invasions at the first onset, REACT will develop a novel field-deployable, rapid and cost- effective mobile solution for interception. Multiple novel reaction strategy components and tools tailored to the characterized bioecological features of Bd and Bz will be developed and integrated to tackle outbreak events by economically sound SIT programs. These include a new bioinformatic pipeline to develop ‘neoclassical’ genetic sexing strains for the target species, novel genetic and metabolic markers to assess the quality of mass-reared flies, and diet supplements for enhanced mass-rearing. To prove the feasibility of an eradication SIT approach for the first time in Europe, releases with Ceratitis capitata will be conducted in areas with low pest prevalence, mimicking invasion scenarios. The program and its socio-economic impact will be evaluated with stakeholders and multiple actors, and a quick intervention guide for diverse invasion risk scenarios will be developed. This will translate into rapid response pest eradication capabilities that are pesticide free, adequate to a wide variety of EU fruticulture and trade under changing climatic, legal, and regulatory conditions and able to safeguard ecosystems and biodiversity while improving food safety.
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