The main topic of research is the sustainable control of insect pests of agricultural and forestry plants. The subject of this activity are the insect parasitoids, used in biological control programmes against pests. The main field of investigation include:
a: volatile organic compounds regulating the interactions among plant-insect pest -insect parasitoid: insect parasitoids exploit plant volatile organic compounds to locate infested plants and then their victims. These interactions are studied mainly in tomato assessing the role of root symbionts on the release of compounds attractive towards pest antagonists.
b characterization of insect parasitoids to be used in biological control programmes: the first step in a classical biological control programme is the correct identification of the species used. This is achieved by an integrative approach including morphological, molecular, biological and geographical characterization particularly focused on Hymenoptera Chalcidoidea Encyrtidae
c: the sustainable control of invasive pests recently introduced into Italy: during the last 10 years there has been an increasing number of invasive pests that have been introduced into Italy such as the Asian gall wasp or the spotted wing Drosophila to name two. The quick set up of sustainable protocols for controlling these pests is fundamental to reduce the risks linked to the massive use of pesticides causing the return or the appearance of new attacks by secondary pests.
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