Fast detection methods for quarantine Tephritidae

Project Details


Main research question/goal

Fruit flies of the family Tephritidae are among the most harmful invasive pest species that can cause significant crop losses and create a worldwide threat for fruit and vegetable producers and traders. Non-European Tephritidae are categorized as quarantine pests for the EU. Therefore, we need to be able to identify all life stages of the detected non-European Tephritidae, particularly larvae, the most frequently intercepted stage, to genus or species level. This is important for pest follow-up, risk assessment and implementation of management. The main goals of this project are to create an overview of the rapid and reliable molecular identification methods and improve the DNA sequence data available for Tephritidae species.

Research approach

We aim to compile the existing fast diagnostic methods and those under development, e.g., LAMP and qPCR for Tephritidae species. We will exchange protocols and organize interlaboratory tests among partners to validate and implement the best methods and harmonize diagnostic protocols and guidelines. We want to collect available DNA sequences for Tephritidae species to identify taxonomic gaps and collect the representative specimens for which no sequence data is available. To fill the gaps,  sequencing experiments will be conducted. This will facilitate the interception of these pests and the rapid detection of any outbreak.


Early detection and correct identification of non-EU fruit flies in imported fruit and vegetables and mainly in perishable commodities at entry points can prevent their entry and establishment in Belgium. The results obtained from this project will be shared with official authorities and the food inspection services through publications. This project is part of a Euphresco project TEPHRIFADE, which involves 19 international partners.

Funding provider(s)
FOD Volksgezondheid, Veiligheid van de voedselketen en Leefmilieu
Effective start/end date1/06/22 → 31/05/24