Development of a rapid identification method for fruit flies at phytosanitary inspections

Project Details


Main research question/goal

Is it possible to develop a rapid identification method (LAMP PCR method) for the Medfly Ceratitis capitata (Tephritidae) in a way that this species can undoubtedly be distinguished from the group of non-European fruit flies (Tephritidae)? This is especially important for larvae.
Can the LAMP method be applied by the Diagnostic Centre for Plants (DCP) during phytosanitary inspections at the border inspection posts?

Research approach

The fruit fly Ceratitis capitata (Tephritidae) is distributed worldwide. Therefore, it is important that the LAMP primers are applicable to different C. capitata populations from all regions (e.g. Africa, South America, Southern Europe). In addition, these primers should also be able to exclude the other Ceratitis species and other fruit fly genera, including Bactrocera and Anastrepha, which are commonly found in fruits imported to Europe. Therefore, a lot of attention is given to the collection of genetic material/information and the development of a phylogenetic tree, which is needed for designing the LAMP primers. The LAMP primer set for C. capitata (and by extension C. rosa, C. cosyra and Bactrocera dorsalis) are developed and finalized with the aid of software packages and lab tests (validation). Finally, after successful validation results for all target species, the LAMP PCR method will be prepared for practical use.


In the first instance, we aim to develop a ready-to-use LAMP PCR protocol for the identification of the fruit fly species C. capitata, C. rosa, C. cosyra and B. dorsalis. Subsequently, this rapid identification technique should be implemented in the analyses of samples of suspect goods by the FASFC/ILVO in order to be able to offer a better service. A fast intervention has a positive impact on time, cost price and image when taking phytosanitary measures by the government.
Finally, the results of this research will be published in international journals (e.g. EPPO-Bulletin).

Funding provider(s)
FOD Volksgezondheid, Veiligheid van de voedselketen en Leefmilieu
Effective start/end date1/11/1931/10/21