New technologies to replace neonicotinoid pesticides in the control of cabbage stem flea beetle on rapeseed (PENFIELD_J18ICASE2)
- Research Area Agriculture and Food Security
- Partner The John Innes Centre (JIC)
Professor Steven Penfield -
- Application Deadline 27/11/2017
Applications are invited for a PhD project aiming to create the underlying knowledge required to help develop new more environmentally-friendly approaches to controlling the key insect pest on rapeseed, the cabbage stem flea beetle. Flea beetles had previously been effectively controlled by neonicotinoid seed treatments, but the current usage ban in Europe based on toxic effects on bee populations mean that we need new and more specific approaches to protecting rapeseed crops from flea beetle damage. Central to this effort is the need to understand the molecular genetics of the interaction between flea beetles and the rapeseed crop in more detail. In this project you will develop methods for analysing the molecular events that enable flea beetles to overcome rapeseed plant defences and successfully attack the crop. You will use new genomic tools to understand plant responses to insect feeding, and use modern breeding techniques to identity and characterise sources of resistance to flea beetle attack using exotic brassica germplasm collections from our commercial partner. The project will run closely with the rapeseed breeding company Limagrain and will include opportunities to take secondments at Limagrain and to exploit their field trials programme and genetic tools for your project. Thus the student will gain extensive experience in public and private sector crop science research during the PhD. The project will suit students who wish to undertake a career in crop science, entomology, plant breeding or related disciplines, either in the public or private sector.