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Division of Biotechnology and Plant Health

Strategies and methods to manage major pests and diseases of onion (‘QualityOnion’)

Photo: Belachew Asalf Tadesse
Active Last updated: 04.07.2024
End: nov 2027
Start: jan 2024

Onion fly and Fusarium basal rot represent major threats for sustainable Norwegian onion production. There are substantial gaps in our knowledge regarding these pests such as which Fusarium species infect onions in Norway, what are the main sources of Fusarium inoculum, and how onion fly prevalence is changing through the growing season.

Status Active
Start - end date 03.01.2024 - 30.11.2027
Project manager Belachew Asalf Tadesse
Division Division of Biotechnology and Plant Health
Department Fungal Plant Pathology in Forestry, Agriculture and Horticulture

As the development of integrated pest management (IPM) strategies relies heavily on an understanding of pest biology, ecology, epidemiology, and environmental factors conducive to epidemic development, the knowledge gaps related to onion fly and Fusarium spp. hamper researchers’ and advisors’ ability to deliver sound and evidence-based IPM recommendations to both onion sets and food onion producers for the control of Fusarium basal rot and onion fly.

By focusing on these knowledge gaps, the QualityOnion will develop new Fusarium detection and quantification methods, study how to combat the different Fusarium species infecting onions in Norway, develop a monitoring system and forecasting model for onion fly and study whether infestation by arthropod pests can predispose onion to Fusarium and vice versa.

The QualityOnion will substantially improve our knowledge and understanding of Fusarium basal rot and onion fly. We hypothesize that improved knowledge of diagnostics, monitoring, forecasting, as well as interactions between fungal and arthropod pests, will improve the IPM strategies, and thus, help onion producers to reduce the yield losses related to onion fly and Fusarium basal rot. In addition, the QualityOnion contributes to reduced production costs and antiresistance strategies by guiding the use of pesticides only where and when necessary.

Altogether, the QualityOnion helps to extend the time that Norwegian onions are available on the market. By promoting profitability, food safety, and food security, the QualityOnion project will make a major contribution to sustainable onion production in Norway.