THE result of a 30-year quest to create the world's first non-toxic fruit fly trap was revealed in Brisbane this week.
Regarded as the "Holy Grail" of fruit fly traps, Fruition, is the product of a collaboration between Griffith University and agricultural product company AgNova Technologies.
The device consists of two large cobalt-blue intersecting ovals with a sachet containing a gel lure which releases an odour that simulates ripe fruit, attracting female fruit flies.
It hangs from a tree branch and fruit flies stick to the blue ovals when they come near.
Brought to market by AgNova Technologies, the trap attracts and catches female fruit flies before they lay eggs in fruit.
Griffith’s Professor Dick Drew of Griffith’s International Centre for the Management of Pest Fruit Flies (ICMPFF), has dedicated his career to fruit fly research.
He developed the trap over three decades of investigation.
Professor Drew said the fruit fly trap and lure was special because it contained a synthetic attractant for the first time and was being mass produced for commercial use.
Fruition recorded high levels of success in field trials, both in terms of the fruit flies being attracted and crop yield improvements.
“Other traps, primarily attracting male flies, already exist and have been used in horticulture for years,” Professor Drew said.
"But the environmentally-conscious, commercially-effective fruit fly trap that everyone dreams about has proven elusive until now."
He said the new trap and lure cut crop losses in a Gatton mango orchard to commercially acceptable levels during trials, and even more significant results have been achieved at a nearby feijoa fruit orchard when the trap and lure were combined with an effective protein bait treatment.
Ninety per cent of the fruit flies attracted by the trap and lure were females and 90pc of those were mature egg-bearing fruit flies, which are the main threat and, hence, the main target.
Griffith has signed an exclusive license agreement with AgNova Technologies Pty Ltd following five years of work between the partners on the project.
Professor Drew said that the company’s involvement was vital to the project’s underwriting and success.
“It is rare for companies to want to come in and give their support to turning research outcomes into commercial products," he said.
AgNova Technologies business manager, Andrew Glover, said the company believes Fruition will have a real impact on the fruit fly problem and help growers produce better, more marketable fruit.
“Growers are already using monitoring traps and protein baits for immature and developing flies, but there has been nothing available to protect fruit from egg-laying females seeking fruit to lay their eggs until Fruition,” he said.
Mr Glover said the work by Griffith University was world class, backed by a strong background of knowledge in fruit fly behaviour in orchards.
There are more than 50 major pest fruit fly species known and their worldwide economic impact on crop production, international trade and quarantine services is huge.