The vast majority of American-grown avocados come from California, and the rest come from Florida and Hawaii. The domestic avocado market is worth $429 million, and all but $23 million of that national market comes from the Golden State.
The fungus Fusarium euwallaceae forms a symbiotic relationship with the polyphagous shot hole borer beetle, and together they add up to what’s known as Fusarium dieback (FD).
Dr. Akif Eskalen, an extension plant pathologist at the University of California, Riverside, says that’s bad news indeed, and that California isn’t the only locale in the world where plants suffer from the complex.
“This beetle has also been found in Israel, and since 2009, the beetle-fungus combination has caused severe damage to avocado and landscape trees there,” Dr. Eskalen says.
Dr. Eskalen says he first discovered the beetle-fungus complex in 2012 on avocado trees found in the backyards of Los Angeles County, and since then, his lab has conducted ongoing monitoring efforts in Southern California to address the problem.
“Our survey efforts show that this pest-disease complex is actively spreading in Los Angeles, Orange and recently San Bernardino, Riverside and San Diego counties,” Dr. Eskalen says.
It works like this: When the beetle burrows into the tree, it injects the host plant with the fungus carried in its mouth-parts. The fungus then attacks the vascular tissue of the tree and blocking the transport of water and nutrients from the roots to the key parts of the tree. The condition eventually causes FD and ultimately – the death of the tree.
The beetle in question is thought to have originated in Southeast Asia, perhaps Vietnam, and at first researchers identified it as the Tea Shot Hole Borer. Following analysis of DNA evidence, it appears that it’s actually a species in the same genus.
Dr. Eskalen says FD has been observed in approximately 117 separate plant species in Southern California, and a good share of those are species generally found in urban landscapes including fully a third of the street trees in Southern California, avocado trees and nine other tree species native to California.
Dr. Richard Stouthamer, a professor of entomology at UC Riverside, says 3D printing has been key to fighting the battle against this insidious beetle-fungus complex. The researchers have used the technology to create traps for the beetles.
“Having these 3D printed traps available allows us to study the impact of insecticides,” Stouthamer says.
And a postdoctoral researcher at UCR, R. Duncan Selby, goes further. Selby says the capabilities of 3D printing allows researchers to design complex tools which would not be possible using traditional methods of fabrication.
“Entomology is reliant on trapping. The fact that 3D printing allows us to come up with prototypes very quickly is going to revolutionize how we study invasive species throughout America,” Selby says.
What do you think of this project at the University of California, Riverside aimed at using 3D printing to wipe out a species of invasive beetles which are threatening to destroy the avocado crops in California and Israel? Let us know in the 3D Printed Beetle Traps forum thread on 3DPB.com.
You May Also Like
Titomic to Deliver Two Kinetic Fusion Systems to Composite Technology Under AUD $25.5M Contract
The very definition of an industry leader, and serving as a forerunner within industrial-scale additive manufacturing in Australia, Melbourne-headquartered Titomic has just signed an AUD $25.5M contract for two TKF...
3D Printing News Briefs: February 21, 2020
In today’s 3D Printing News Briefs, we’re talking about new products and materials, an industry event, 3D printed electronics, and education. 3Doodler announced a new product, and Essentium will be...
Metal 3D Printing: Correlation Between Laser Power, Cooling Rates & Effects on Parts in LPBF Processes
US scientists are learning more about power, temperature, and the effects on metal 3D printing processes, with their findings outlined in the recently published ‘Subsurface Cooling Rates and Microstructural Response...
GKN Aerospace to Open Latest Additive Industries Process and Application Centre Close to Bristol, UK
GKN Aerospace is just one aspect of the powerhouse of manufacturing activity emanating from GKN—a company rich in history—with origins founded as far back as the 1700s. Overall, GKN presents...
View our broad assortment of in house and third party products.