Production and Quality Assurance in the SIT Africa Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) Rearing Facility in South Africa
AbstractA mass-rearing facility for Mediterranean fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann) was commissioned in Stellenbosch in 1999 to produce sterile male fruit flies for a sterile insect technique (SIT) project in commercial fruit orchards and vineyards in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The mass-rearing procedure was largely based on systems developed by the FAO/IAEA Agriculture and Biotechnology Laboratory, Seibersdorf, Austria. A number of genetic sexing strains were used to produce only males for release. Initial cramped rearing and quality management conditions were alleviated in 2001 with the construction of a new adult rearing room and quality control laboratory. In 2002 a comprehensive Quality Management System was implemented, and in 2003 an improved genetic sexing strain, VIENNA 8, was supplied by the FAO/IAEA Laboratory in Seibersdorf. For most of the first 3 years the facility was unable to supply the required number of sterile male Mediterranean fruit flies for the SIT program without importing sterile male pupae from another facility. From mid-2002, after the quality management system was implemented, both production and quality improved but remained below optimum. After the introduction of the VIENNA 8 genetic sexing strain, and together with an improvement in the climate control equipment, production stability, and quality assurance parameters improved substantially. The critical factors influencing production and quality were an inadequate rearing infrastructure, problems with the quality of the larval diet, and the initial absence of a quality management system. The results highlight the importance of effective quality management, the value of a stable and productive genetic sexing strain, and the necessity for a sound funding base for the mass-rearing facility.
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