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DEVELOPMENT OF BEAUVERIA BASSIANA FOR CONTROL OF GRASSHOPPERS AND LOCUSTS

  • Stefan T. Jaronski (a1) and Mark S. Goettel (a2)

Abstract

Recognition of the potential of Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin as a control agent of grasshoppers and locusts occurred as early as 1936, in South Africa. Field testing of B. bassiana as an inundative control agent of grasshoppers and locusts has been facilitated by development of a solid substrate method for mass-production of the fungus and has resulted in the registration of a strain against grasshoppers in the United States. In some, but not all field trials, application has resulted in substantial reductions in grasshopper populations. Numerous environmental constraints, including temperature and ultraviolet (UV) radiation, may limit field efficacy of the fungus. Laboratory studies suggest that low humidity does not limit the ability of the fungus to initiate disease. Sunlight is the major cause of mortality of conidia on leaf surfaces. The incorporation of UVB protectants in formulations can increase conidial survival; however, these have not yet been evaluated for their effects on field efficacy of B. bassiana against insects. Thermoregulation by grasshoppers has been implicated in resistance to mycosis. Results of laboratory studies indicate that grasshoppers infected with B. bassiana preferentially seek temperatures between 40 and 42 °C and these temperatures are inhibitory to disease development. In field-cage trials, a higher prevalence and more rapid development of disease were observed in grasshoppers placed in shaded cages than in grasshoppers placed in cages exposed to full sunlight. In laboratory experiments simulating grasshopper thermoregulation during daylight periods, application of both Metarhizium flavoviride Gams and Rozsypal and B. bassiana simultaneously resulted in a final prevalence of disease that was greater than M. flavoviride alone in the hot temperature environment, and equal to B. bassiana alone in the cool temperature environment. Incorporation of sublethal levels of Dimilin with conidia of B. bassiana increased efficacy of the fungus against grasshoppers in laboratory and field trials. Once environmental constraints are better quantified, it may be possible to overcome them through improved formulation, strain selection, genetic or phenotypic manipulation, and inoculum targeting. Ultimately, success of B. bassiana as a microbial control agent will depend on our ability to overcome environmental and other constraints and/or to predict its efficacy under various environmental conditions.

Le potentiel de Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo) Vuillemin comme agent de lutte contre les criquets a été reconnu dès 1936 en Afrique du Sud. Les tests sur le pathogène des criquets en nature ont été facilités par la mise au point d'une méthode de production en masse du champignon sur un substrat solide, ce qui a permis l'enregistrement d'une souche efficace contre les criquets aux états-Unis. Dans la plupart des tests en nature, pas dans tous, l'application du pathogène a occasionné de fortes réductions des populations de criquets. De nombreuses contraintes écologiques, notamment la température et les radiations ultra-violettes (UV), peuvent nuire à l'efficacité de l'organisme sur le terrain. Les études en laboratoire semblent indiquer qu'une humidité faible ne diminue pas l'action pathogène du champignon. La lumière solaire semble être la principale cause de mortalité des conidies à la surface des feuilles. L'incorporation de substances protectrices contre les rayons UVB dans les préparations peut améliorer la survie des conidies, mais l'effet de ces substances sur l'efficacité du pathogène en nature n'a pas encore été déterminé. La régulation thermique a été invoquée comme facteur de résistance à la mycose chez les criquets. Les résultats d'expériences en laboratoire indiquent que les criquets infectés par B. bassiana manifestent une préférence pour les températures de 40–42 °C, températures qui ont un effet inhibiteur sur le développement de la maladie. Dans des essais sur le terrain, la maladie s'est avérée plus fréquente et a évolué plus rapidement chez les criquets gardés dans des cages à l'ombre que chez ceux gardés dans des cages mises en plein soleil. Dans des expériences de laboratoire destinées à simuler la régulation thermique des criquets à la lumière du jour, l'exposition aux deux pathogènes Metarhizium flavoviride Gams et Rozsypal et B. bassiana a entraîné des pathologies plus généralisées que l'exposition exclusive à M. flavoviride à haute température et des pathologies de prévalence égale à celle provoquée par l'exposition exclusive à B. bassiana à température fraîche. L'incorporation de doses sublétales de Dimilin aux préparations de conidies de B. bassiana a augmenté l'efficacité du champignon contre les criquets, aussi bien en laboratoire qu'en nature. Lorsque les contraintes écologiques auront été mieux comprises, il sera plus facile de les circonvenir par utilisation de préparations améliorées et de souches plus efficaces, par tentative de manipulations génétiques ou phénotypiques et par un meilleur choix de cibles pour recevoir l'inoculum. En fin du compte, le succès de B. bassiana comme agent de lutte microbienne dépendra de notre aptitude à contourner les contraintes environnementales ou autres et (ou) de notre capacité de prévoir l'efficacité du champignon dans diverses conditions du milieu. [Traduit par la Rédaction]

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DEVELOPMENT OF BEAUVERIA BASSIANA FOR CONTROL OF GRASSHOPPERS AND LOCUSTS

  • Stefan T. Jaronski (a1) and Mark S. Goettel (a2)

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