First-of-its-kind research, published in Scientific Reports of the journal Nature by a nine-member team, including UC Davis agricultural entomologist Christian Nansen, indicated that attracting alternative hosts to parasitoids of rice insect pests, can help protect a rice crop. The players: a grass species, a planthopper, and an egg parasitoid.
The field and laboratory work, done in China, targeted the brown planthopper, Nilaparvata lugens, or BPH, the economically most important rice pest in Asia. Results showed that BPH densities were “significantly lower in the rice fields with the banker plant system compared to control rice fields without banker plant system,” the scientists said.
“Many people are familiar with the concept of a ‘trap crop'-- a sacrificial crop which is planted mixed in with or adjacent to an economically important crop and the trap crop serves to manipulate pests away by offering them a more attractive/suitable host alternative,” said Nansen, an assistant professor with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology. “The use of banker plants in pest management is similar to the use of trap crops, but banker plants typically have multiple ecological functions.”
The researchers planted a grass species, Leersia sayanuka, next to rice. It attracted a planthopper (Nilaparvata muiri), which does not infest rice.
Rice is the stable food of more than 50 percent of the global population, and 60 percent of the Chinese population. However, scientists concur that the world's rice production needs to increase drastically over the next three decades to meet the growing food demand in Asia. Growing concern over BPH outbreaks and higher pesticide usage led to the sustainable pest management study.
Titled “Use of Banker Plant System for Sustainable Management of the Most Important Insect Pest in Rice Fields in China,” the research is unique in that it is the first published study describing the attraction of alternative hosts to parasitoids of rice insect pests. In rice systems, previously published research involved planting sesame as a nectar source to promote the establishment and persistence of a predatory bug; and studies involving parasitoids.
BPH, found only in southeast Asia and Australia, feeds on the rice crop at all stages of plant growth and can also transmit two viruses, rice ragged stunt virus, and rice grassy stunt virus. Damage can commonly result in a 60 percent yield loss. An infestation is often called “hopper burn,” referring to yellow patches that soon turn brown.
Although BPH is not found in the United States, this kind of study “may be an approach to consider in California in the future if insecticide resistance continues to impeded effective insect control,” Nansen said.
Noting the importance of the banker plant system, Nansen said that banker plants “involve promotion of plant diversity to enhance pest self-regulatory ecosystem functions, such as predation and competition, to reduce susceptibility of agricultural crops to native and invasive pests. Also, banker plants “may provide resources, such as shelter, pollen and nectar or alternative preys to improve the establishment and persistence of beneficial insect populations used to control a specific pest.”
The first successful banker plant system, developed in 1977, involved tomato as the banker plant, a parasitoid and a whitefly.
Nansen is affiliated with both UC Davis and the Zhejiang Sustainable Pest and Disease Control, Institute of Plant Protection and Microbiology, Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hangzhou, China.
Co-authors of the research paper include lead author Zhongxian Lu and colleagues Xusong Zheng, Yanhui Lu, Junce Tian, Hongxing Xu, all of the Zhejiang Sustainable Pest and Disease Control; and Pingyang Zhu, Facheng Zhang and Guihua Chen of the Jinhua (China) Plant Protection Station.
The study was jointly supported by the National Key Research and Development Program of China, Zhejiang Key Research and Development Program, and the Special Fund for Agro-scientific Research in the Public Interest.
Keynote speaker of the event, sponsored by the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center and the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, is Steve Sheppard, Thurber Professor of Apiculture and chair of the Department of Entomology, Washington State University (WSU), Pullman, Wash.
Sheppard will speak at 9:45 a.m. on "Bees, Mushrooms and Liquid Nitrogen--What?" His research involves improving honey bee health through breeding and alternative treatment approaches. Sheppard specializes in population genetics and evolution of honey bees, insect introductions and mechanisms of genetic differentiation.
He also heads the Apis Molecular Systematics Laboratory. He received his graduate degrees in entomology from the University of Illinois: his master's degree in 1979 and his doctorate in 1986. He worked as a postdoctoral fellow at the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Beneficial Insects Laboratory from 1986 to 1988, and as a research entomologist at the USDA Bee Research Laboratory from 1988 to 1996 before joining the WSU faculty in 1996. He was named chair of the department in 2009.
The symposium will include speakers, displays of graduate student research posters, the latest in beekeeping equipment, books, honey, plants, "and much more," according to Amina Harris, director of the UC Davis Honey and Pollination Center.
Santiago Ramirez, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Evolution and Ecology, will speak on "The Evolution and Chemical Ecology of Orchid Bees" at 10:45 a.m.
Extension apiculturist Elina Niño of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will introduce the apprentice-level California Master Beekeepers and present them with pins at 11:30. Niño coordinates the Master Beekeeper Program.
The graduate student poster presentations are at noon. The competition was open to all California university students engaged in pollinator-related research. Educational exhibits also will be spotlighted at noon.
The afternoon program includes a presentation at 1:30 p.m. on "Flowering Crops: A Tricky Treat for Bees" by researcher Maj Rundlöf, International Career Grant Fellow, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, followed by "The New FDA Rule on the Use of Antibiotics in Hives" at 2 p.m. by veterinarian Michael Karle of the Mid-Valley Veterinary Hospital, Oakland.
At 2:30 the fast-paced and popular "Lightning Round" will take place. Each presentation will be four to six minutes long and will be followed by a question-and-answer session, Harris said.
- "Bumble Bee Cognition in the Wild" by Felicity Muth, postdoctoral researcher, Department of Biology, University of Nevada, Reno
- "Habitat Planting for Bees," by the Neal Williams' lab, UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology
- "Optical Tagging of Bees to Track Individual Movements in colonies" by Stacey Combes, assistant professor, UC Davis Department of Neurobiology, Physiology and Behavior
- "Planet Bee: Citizen Bee Projects" by Debra Tomaszewski, executive director and co-founder of the Bay Area's Planet Bee Foundation
- "Plants and Pesticides: Keeping Bees Healthy with Ornamental Horticulture" by Christine Casey, program representative, Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, UC Davis
The symposium ends with Margaret Lombard, chief executive officer of the National Honey Board, speaking at 3:45 p.m. on "Good as Gold: Growing Opportunities for the Small-Scale Honey Producer."
Winners of the Graduate Student Poster Competition will be announced at 4:15. Awards are first place, $1000; second place, $750; third, $500; and fourth, $250.
To register, access http://honey.ucdavis.edu/events/2017-bee-symposium. Harris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
The UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology will be participating Thursday, April 27 in the annual “Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work” (TODS) Day.
The Bohart Museum of Entomology in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane will participate from 1 to 5 p.m., while the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven on Bee Biology Road will cater to the visitors from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Youths touring the Bohart Museum will see insect specimens and the live “petting zoo” of Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and tarantulas. The craft activity will be making buttons, said Tabatha Yang, education and outreach coordinator. The museum director is Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology.
At the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre pollinator and demonstration garden, visitors can view the some 200 plant species; check out the bee observation hive from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility; and participate in "catch and release" bee observation. “We also have microscopes for close-up bee viewing,” said manager Christine Casey. Faculty director of the garden is Elina Niño.
TODS is billed as “an annual national celebration of employers hosting children at their workplace.” Designed to be more than a career day, TODS not only exposes youths to what their parents do at work, but may provide an incentive to attend college and envision their future.
Per the rules, all attendees must register on the TODS page by April 26. Some activities require specific enrollment due to an enrollment cap. Within this page you can also register for those specific activities requiring specific event enrollment due to an enrollment cap. Check out some of the videos from the 2016 TODS:/span>
Earlier research by the Judah Folkman laboratory of Harvard Medical School showed that cutting off blood vessels that feed a cancerous tumor can stop its growth.
The seven-member research team—five from the Bruce Hammock laboratory of UC Davis—“characterized a novel lipid signaling molecule that can change fundamental biological processes involved in our health and disease,” said lead author and researcher Amy Rand. “We've found that a novel product derived from the metabolism of omega-6 fatty acids stimulates angiogenesis, which may contribute to enhanced tumor growth by providing tumors with oxygen and nutrients.”
“As a highly regulated process, angiogenesis is critical for wound healing and development, but many diseases result in unregulated angiogenesis, including cancer,” explained Rand, a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Bruce Hammock, a distinguished professor who holds a joint appointment with UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center. “We may be able to control angiogenesis to stimulate wound healing when necessary, but also block tumor growth in patients. Diseases that rely on angiogenesis may be able to be treated in part by changes in dietary lipid exposure or by controlling levels of these metabolites through enzyme inhibitors that block their formation.”
The research, published April 10 in the Proceedings of the Natural Academy of Sciences (PNAS), explains, in part, why inhibiting the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH) in some systems is angiogenic whereas combining sEH inhibition with the inhibition of cyclooxygenase (COX) enzymes is dramatically antiangiogenic, which in turn may suppress tumor growth.
“There's uncertainty regarding the link between unsaturated fats and cancer, due to ongoing conflicts between scientific studies and insufficient data,” Rand said. “Because of this, there is a major gap in our understanding of how these essential dietary fats affect our health. We used tools to detect and characterize unknown metabolites from omega-6 unsaturated fats and determined their effect on angiogenesis, to address at least a small part of this uncertainty by focusing on how these fats contribute to cancer tumor growth.”
Hammock, who holds a joint appointment in the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and the UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center, said the research, titled “Cyclooxygenase-Derived Proangiogenic Metabolites of Epoxyeicosatrienoic Acids
Holds long term hope for cancer patients and those afflicted with heart, eye and other diseases. The team also included Christophe Morisseau, Bogdan Barnych, and Kin Sing Stephen Lee all of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and UC Davis Comprehensive Cancer Center; Tomas Cajka of the UC Davis Genome Center; and Dipak Panigraphy of Harvard Medical School. Lee is now an assistant professor at Michigan State University.
“Pro and anti-angiogenic therapy can potentially help millions of people worldwide in various diseases such as heart, ulcers, eye and cancer as first demonstrated by Dr. Judah Folkman and his colleagues,” said Panigraphy, formerly of the Hammock lab and now with the Center for Vascular Biology Research, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Harvard Medical School, and the school's Department of Pathology.
“While the COX and sEH pathways can be targeted with drugs, their interaction is poorly understood,” Panigraphy said. “These studies by Rand et al demonstrate for the first time new specific mechanisms whereby targeting the sEH pathway can be both pro- and anti-angiogenic and has the potential to help patients with devastating diseases such as in the eye and cancer where blocking angiogenesis is desired.”
Rand, who received her doctorate in chemistry from the University of Toronto, Canada, in 2013, the same year she joined Hammock's biological analytical chemistry lab, said she's “always been interested in research that combines chemistry and biology to enhance our understanding of human health.”
Future work? “We aim to understand the direct involvement of these omega-6 fatty acid metabolites with cancer tumor growth and metastasis.”
Rand last year received the $100,000 Judah Folkman Fellowship for Angiogenesis Research from the American Association for Cancer Research. She won the highly competitive international award for her proposal, “Regulation of Cancer Angiogenesis from the Metabolism of Epoxy Omega-6 Fats.” Rand joined Hammock's biological analytical chemistry lab in 2013 and was a fellow on the Oncogenic Signals and Chromosome Biology T32 Training Grant, UC Davis Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics.
The late Judah Folkman (1933-2008), a Harvard Medical School professor considered the father of angiogenesis research, “is best known for pioneering the concept of blocking angiogenesis (the development of blood vessels) to control cancer growth," Hammock said. "This concept has resulted in a number of anti-cancer drugs and has had a major impact on cancer treatment. Of course, blood vessel development is also critical for survival."
Folkman discovered that cutting off the blood vessels that feed the tumor can stop cancer tumor growth. His revolutionary work has led to the discovery of a number of therapies based on inhibiting or stimulating neovascularization. Inhibitors of the sEH pathway are moving toward human trials to control neuropathic pain, but if combined with nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can block tumor growth by blocking angiogenesis. So Dr. Sung Hee Hwang combined inhibitors of both pathways into one molecule which is being investigated in cancer models at the UC Davis Cancer Center by Dr. Paul Henderson and Northwestern University Medical School by Dr. Guang-yu Yang.
Hammock directs the campuswide Superfund Research Program, National Institutes of Health Biotechnology Training Program, and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) Combined Analytical Laboratory.
This work was supported by NIEHS and the NIEHS Superfund Program; and two of Rand's grants: the Oncogenic Signals and Chromosome Biology T32 Training Grant, NIH/NIEHS; and her 2016 AACR Judah Folkman Fellowship for Angiogenesis Research.
Two of the department's exhibits are in the running for special awards at the 103rd annual UC Davis Picnic Day, set Saturday, April 22. One is “Honey Tasting” at Briggs Hall, and the other is “Bigger, Better, Buglier: Impressive Science” at the Bohart Museum of Entomology.
“Honey Tasting" will feature a selection of varietal honeys in a display that's the work of Extension apiculturist Elina Niño and colleagues at the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Facility.
"We will have the crowd favorites: coffee blossom, sweet meadowfoam, as well as some classics such as orange blossom and blackberry blossom and the 'love-it-or-hate-it' buckwheat honey," Niño said. "This year we will also be featuring our own 2016 crop of UC Davis honey from the apiculture program." The exhibit is one of six competing for awards in the category, "Hunger Fix.”
“Bigger, Better, Buglier: Impressive Science” from the Bohart Museum is one of six entered in "Secrets of Nature." The insect museum, directed by Lynn Kimsey, professor of entomology at UC Davis, is located in Room 1124 of the Academic Surge Building on Crocker Lane. It is the home of nearly 8 million insect specimens, plus a live petting zoo (Madagascar hissing cockroaches, walking sticks and taranatulas) and a year-around gift shop that includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, books, jewelry, posters, insect-collecting equipment and insect-themed candy.
The department's two exhibits are among 30 special exhibits competing in five categories: Best in Show, Fun with Crafts, Arts and Humanities, Hunger Fix and Secrets of Nature, said UC Davis Picnic Day exhibits director Helen Xie.
The way it works: Picnic Day attendees vote for their favorite exhibits. Winning exhibits will be featured on social media pages such as Picnic Day website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat accounts after Picnic Day. They will also be featured next year, in preparation for Picnic Day 2018.
The poll will open at 8 a.m. and close at 10 p.m. the same day. All are welcome to vote at: https://orgsync.com/51524/forms/258052.
Last year the department won two special awards. By popular vote, "Little Swimmers and Fly Tyers (Briggs Hall)," won the category, Hidden Treasures; and "Real Insects and Mimics" (Bohart Museum of Entomology) won the category "Family Friendly."
This year's Briggs Hall activities will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Bohart Museum of Entomology will swing open its doors from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Graduate student Brendon Boudinot, who is chairing the department's Picnic Day Committee, announced these activities at Briggs:
- Honey Tasting (You can sample varietals of honey)
- Bug Doctor (The doctor is in!)
- Cockroach Races (Pick a winner: this event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)
- Scavenger Hunt (Do you know your insects?)
- Dr. Death (Forensic entomologist Robert Kimsey will answer your questions)
- Insect Face Painting (Get a bee, lady beetle or another insect painted on your face)
- Little Swimmers and Fly Tying (Watch and identify aquatic insects, a project from the Sharon Lawler lab, and learn "how to tie a fly" from the Fly Fishers of Davis
- Maggot Art (Dip a maggot into a water-based, non-toxic paint and create a painting suitable for framing)
- UC Statewide Integrated Pest Management (UC IPM) (See their many publications and ask questions; youngsters can receive a vial of free lady beetles, aka ladybugs)
- T-shirt sales by the UC Davis Entomology Graduate Students' Association (popular t-shirts include beetles and honey bees)
- Social insects, insect forestry, medical entomology, and more (See a honey bee observation hive from the Harry H. Laidlaw Jr. Honey Bee Research Facility and ants from the Phil Ward lab; and also learn about forest insects and mosquitoes. The Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito and Vector Control District will staff a booth)
The nematology collection will be on display in the Sciences Laboratory Building, across from Briggs.
Theme of this year's campuswide Picnic Day is "Growing Together." The event gets underway at 9:30 a.m. with an opening ceremony by the grandstands on North Quad Ave., across from Wickson Hall. The parade starts at 10 a.m. from the same site. Announcement locations are at 2nd and D streets in downtown Davis; F Street in front of PDQ Fingerprinting, and 3rd and C streets in downtown Davis. The UC Davis Entomology Club, advised by forensic entomologist Bob Kimsey, will enter its popular black widow float.