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CETC IL Seminar Series

Presentation Title: Research Towards Control of the Cassava Whitefly

We are delighted to announce an upcoming virtual seminar featuring Dr. Everlyne Wosula, a distinguished Vector Entomologist at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) Eastern Africa Hub, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. Dr. Wosula's presentation will delve into the latest research aimed at tackling the challenges posed by the cassava whitefly, Bemisia tabaci.

The cassava whitefly is a significant agricultural pest known for transmitting viruses that cause devastating diseases in cassava plants. Dr. Wosula's research investigates the genetic diversity of B. tabaci and explores various control strategies to manage its impact on cassava production, particularly in sub-Saharan Africa.

This seminar will provide valuable insights into the genetics, behavior, and control measures of the cassava whitefly. Dr. Wosula's findings hold promising implications for enhancing cassava yields and ensuring food security in the region.

Dr. Everlyne Wosula is a Principal Investigator with over a decade of expertise in Vector Entomology at IITA. Her research focuses on developing innovative tools for managing cassava Bemisia tabaci whiteflies, key vectors of cassava viruses. Dr. Wosula's dedication to exploring effective control strategies aims to enhance cassava production and resilience to pests and diseases.

Join Using the Link Below

Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: https://psu.zoom.us/j/99068259559
Time: Mar 12, 2024 08:00 AM Eastern Time (US and Canada) / 3.00 PM EAT


Bemisia tabaci is a serious pest that causes damage to many cultivated crops worldwide through feeding and transmission of viruses. It is a genetic complex of over 40 cryptic species distinguished through mtCOI sequencing. These genetic groups are known to differ in response to host plant, insecticides and ability to transmit viruses. One of these genetic groups, designated sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), specializes on cassava in sub-Saharan Africa and is distinct from groups found on other crops such as tomato, cotton and cucurbits.  The most damaging effect of the cassava whitefly is through transmission of viruses that cause two devastating diseases, cassava mosaic disease (CMD) and cassava brown streak disease (CBSD). Yield losses attributed to CMD and CBSD infection across Africa have been estimated at more than US$1 billion.

Efforts to manage the damaging impacts CMD and CBSD have focussed primarily on breeding for virus resistance, and there has been relatively little attention given to controlling the whitefly vector. Currently, several cassava growing countries are championing clean seed systems for cassava production. However, success in these endeavours will depend on the activity of the whitefly vector whose abundance and prevalence continues to pose a high reinfection risk for clean planting material.

Research has been ongoing to explore several options for control of the cassava whitefly, including the use of insecticides, entomopathogenic fungi and botanical oils. Recent results show that these strategies significantly reduce whitefly populations and virus incidence and increase cassava yield under field conditions. There is significant potential for farmers to use these whitefly control strategies to increase cassava yield production. As cassava production gains momentum as a commercial crop for industrial use, and a food crop that is resilient to climate change, there is an urgent need develop effective strategies for scaling whitefly IPM, so that the twin benefits of virus resistance and vector control can be harnessed for the benefit of the millions of cassava producers and consumers who rely on this important crop. 

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