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Viruses to aid biological control of major root-feeding pests of sugarcane

Australia’s $1.7 billion sugar industry is threatened by severe root-feeding pests such as canegrubs and soldier flies. There are no effective control strategies for soldier flies and reliance on pesticides for canegrub control has severe negative impacts on the industry and the wider environment, rendering it unsustainable. This project will innovate new biopesticides for these pests by identifying novel naturally occurring insect-specific viruses using cutting-edge genomics and evaluate the efficacy of other entomopathogenic viruses.

Expected outcomes include the development of a new tool for an environmentally safe biological control of these devastating pests. This will provide significant benefits to sugarcane growers, leading to economic gains and reducing environmental risk.

Project date

1 Jul 2023-30 Jun 2027
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Principal investigator

Michael Furlong & Kayban Etebari

Project funded by


Sugar Research Australia (SRA)

SRA invests in and manages a portfolio of research, development and adoption projects that drive productivity, profitability and sustainability for …
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  • Organisation type

    Research funding body, Research service providers

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