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New CRP: Mosquito Irradiation, Sterilization and Quality Control (D44004)

New Coordinated Research Project

Cobalt 60 irradiator routinely used for insect sterilization (Photo: V. Dias, IPCL)

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is launching a new five-year (2020-2025) Coordinated Research Project (CRP), titled ‘Mosquito Irradiation, Sterilization and Quality Control’ (D44004). This CRP’s first Research Coordination Meeting is expected to take place from 6-10 July 2020 in Vienna, Austria.


The application of the Sterile Insect Technique (SIT) in area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) programmes continues to increase in response to requests from Member States. These requests include the development and refinement of the SIT packages for programmes to control populations of different insect pests of agricultural, veterinary and human health importance. The efficiency and efficacy of the operational application of such programmes, with an SIT component against human disease vectors, particularly mosquitoes, depends on the efficiency of irradiated sterile males to induce sterility in the target populations. As such, irradiation, together with other processes in the workflow from sterile males’ production to their release in the field, determine the quality of released males and ultimately affect their performance in the field. Quality control is thus critical at every step of the SIT workflow, at both pre- and post-irradiation stages.

The proposed research and development activities, under this CRP, are articulated around three major thrusts, crucial to ensuring the efficacy of implementing area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) programmes: (1) the impact of endogenous factors such as stage, age and genetic background, and exogenous factors such as temperature, density, oxygen availability, irradiation source, dose-rate and energy of the rays on irradiation efficacy, (2)the impact of irradiation on vectorial capacity of females, as well as on the cytoplasmic incompatibility and pathogen interference conferred by Wolbachia infection, and (3) quality control tools to monitor the product quality (sterile males) along the production chain and compare it between production and emergence and release centres.

CRP Overall Objective

The main objective of this CRP is the development and evaluation of irradiation and quality control procedures to be used for sterile insect technique (SIT) applications, as part of area-wide integrated pest management (AW-IPM) programmes, to control populations of mosquitoes, vectors of human diseases.

Specific Research Objectives

  1. Understand the factors that affect sterilization by irradiation and downstream performance of the sterile male mosquitoes.
  2. Design and validate irradiation and dosimetry protocols for large numbers of mosquitoes, that are appropriate for operational programmes.
  3. Develop and validate standard product Quality Control procedures for sterile male mosquitoes.

How to join this CRP

Please submit your Proposal for Research Contract or Agreement by email, no later than 30 November 2019, to the IAEA’s Research Contracts Administration Section, using the appropriate template on the CRA web portal. Note that the same form can be used for the research contract and technical contract.

For further information related to this CRP, potential applicants should use the contact form under the CRP page.

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