Natalia Escobedo León Madsen

Nationality: Spanish
Partner institution: Aarhus University
Start and end og PhD project: 01.02.2014 – 30.06.2018
Supervisor: Joachim Offenberg

PhD title: Ant-aid: New technologies for sustainable pest control

Link to research group at Aarhus University

Description of research project:
This PhD project is part of a GUDP funded project between two Danish business partners (Borregård Bioplant ApS and Muscatec Biosystems ApS) and Bioscience Silkeborg.

Previous research has shown that offering alternative sugar sources to ants can cause them to start neglecting the aphids and sometimes exploit them as a source of protein, causing a decline in aphid numbers (Nagy, Cross, & Markó, 2013; Offenberg, 2001). One of the key goals of this project is the development of a supersugar, a solution that can out-compete aphid honeydew in the field. Additionally, we also explore how the presence of this supersugar affects trophic relationships in the aphid-ant-natural enemy system, under the hypothesis that the presence of sugar will increase the efficiency of coexisting predators and parasitoids by eliminating the protective benefits that ant-attended aphids normally receive.