謝文發老師畢業於馬來西亞國立大學，並曾在台大農藝系擔任博士後研究員。專長在於植物生理學和植物逆境生理學。現在的研究主題主要為：(1) 篩選對瘤野螟具有抵抗力的水稻基因型、(2) 了解水稻對瘤野螟的抗性機制、(3) 培育對瘤野螟有抵抗力的水稻品種。
臺灣的第二期稻作經常會受到一種名為Cnaphalocro當地cis medinalis (Guenée) (鱗翅目、螟蛾科) 的遷徙性害蟲的影響，俗稱瘤野螟。當蟲害嚴峻時，相關報告顯示稻米收成損失可達18–24%。化學殺蟲劑是控制稻田害蟲數量的主要方法，然而，殺蟲劑的濫用可能產生負面影響，如危害食品安全，破壞生態和環境完整性，進而可能導致次級害蟲爆發。而且瘤野螟幼蟲會將葉片縱向摺疊，並用絲線建立一個飼養室 (feeding chamber)，間接阻隔了殺蟲劑，因此以殺蟲劑來做瘤野螟的蟲害防治也不甚有效。
Second rice cropping seasons in Taiwan are constantly affected by a migratory insect pest, Cnaphalocrocis medinalis (Guenée) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae), commonly known as the rice leaffolder. Local reports have shown yield losses ranging from 18% to 24% under severe infestation conditions. Chemical insecticides are the primary method employed for controlling pest populations in rice fields. However, the misuse of insecticides can have negative consequences, such as compromising food safety and disrupting ecological and environmental integrity, potentially resulting in secondary pest outbreaks. This method of pest control is also less effective due to the caterpillars’ behavior of building a feeding chamber by folding a leaf longitudinally with silk, which indirectly protects them from chemical spray.
Leaffolders require approximately 1 month to complete their life cycle, which consists of egg, larva, pupa and adult moth stages. The larvae scrape the green mesophyll inside the folded leaf, reducing the photosynthesis and yield of infested rice plants.
To ensure national food security, it is essential to breed local rice varieties resistant to various biotic and abiotic stresses, given that these environmental threats are expected to become more frequent and intense due to climate change. My research aims to identify resistant rice genotypes and resistance genes against leaffolder insect pest. To achieve this, a suite of experiments will be employed, including phenotypic screening, gene expression analysis, metabolite profiling, and stress hormone profiling. Our understanding of the resistance trait or mechanism could be translated into genetic markers for breeding programs aimed at developing leaffolder-resistant rice varieties.
The research workflow begins with the identification of leaffolder-resistant rice genotypes, followed by the elucidation of the resistant trait or mechanism using molecular and biochemical techniques. The insights gained are important for breeders to develop rice varieties with improved insect tolerance.
In March 2019, I had just started working as a post-doc at Dr. Ya-Fen Lin’s laboratory two months ago and joined my first lab outing to Yangmingshan. The scenery was breathtaking, and the weather was cold. I won’t forget the experience of immersing myself in the freezing cold water to harvest Alocasia plants.