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2023 Speakers

Jorge Zavala

Jorge Zavala, Speaker at Plant Biology Conferences
University of Buenos Aires, Argentina
Title : Plant responses to the stink bug diceraeus furcatus attack: a new pest of corn


Over the last decades, Argentine and Brazilian farmers have adopted no-tillage cultivation systems and multiple cropping, which have decreased the abundance of traditional pests, such as Nezara viridula, and favored the development of some stink bugs of secondary importance, like Diceraeus furcatus. No-till farming leaves the soil undisturbed, to mitigate erosion, and sufficient crop residue on the field, which is used by D. furcatus as a shelter under unfavourable conditions, and as a shelter against insecticides. Moreover, implementing multiple cropping systems increases crop rotation from soybean to corn, and places overwintering adults of D. furcatus in contact with corn seedlings in spring. Attacks of this stink bug species produce deformation and abortion of corn seedlings, resulting in up to 50% corn yield reduction. The increasing abundance of D. furcatus intensifies the damage on developing pods and seeds of soybean, becoming a primary pest of soybean, and a new pest of corn. Here I will summarize the current knowledge about plant responses to D. furcatus attack that can increase the resistance to this pest and also could make corn more susceptible.


Dr. Zavala studied Agronomy at the University of Buenos Aires, Argentina and graduated as MS in 2000. He received his PhD degree in 2004 and a two-year postdoc at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology, Jena, Germany. After a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign supervised by Profs May Berenbaum and Evan DeLucia, USA he obtained the position of Associate Professor at the University of Buenos Aires, School of Agronomy. He has published more than 70 research articles in SCI (E) journals. He is interested in plant defenses against insect attack, and how insects respond to plant defenses, using chemical, biochemical and ecological tools.

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