There's a fly in my beer! Commandeering yeast fermentation for agricultural pest control

Drosophila suzukii is a growing global agricultural pest currently wreaking havoc on many soft-skinned fruits (e.g. cherries, blueberries, strawberries). The unique physiology and behavior of D. suzukii has rendered current control methods ineffective at preventing crop loss and the spread of this pest. Improved solutions are needed to reduce economic and ecological damage. Fermentation is commonly utilized in insect lures as yeasts can produce aromatic bouquets of compounds. Interestingly, D. suzukii is not attracted to the same odors as its relative D. melanogaster and therefore different yeasts may prove more effective as a lure. We speculate that by sampling the natural diversity of D. suzukii-associated yeasts (and an array of Belgian beers!), we can find a more effective fermentation lure for this agricultural pest.


Maria C. Dzialo (1;2)
Marie Sarens (1;2)
Rahel Park (1;2)
Bart Lievens (3)
Tom Wenseleers (4)
Kevin Verstrepen (1;2)


KU Leuven Center for Microbiology and Plant Genetics (1)
VIB Center for Microbiology (2)
KU Leuven Microbial and Molecular Systems (3)
KU Leuven Laboratory of Socioecology and Social Evolution (4)

Presenting author

Maria Dzialo, Postdoc, VIB/KU Leuven
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