- Bacteria or bacterial products that kill insects with emphasis on coleopteran pests
- Microbes that modify other substances used to control insects
Specifically I investigate the basic biology of bacteria and other microbes that make substances that are toxic to insects.
Microbes that modify other substances used to control insects, such as feeding stimulants are also studied. Included in this research are studies of the mechanism of virulence and/or toxin production and modification. My research spans from discovery to small scale field trials.
Most recently I discovered new purple bacteria (Chromobacterium sp.) that are toxic to coleopteran pests (Colorado potato beetle, corn rootworm) as well as diamondback moth.
For testing heat sensitive bacteria, I developed a freeze dried diet for CBP that allows for incorporation of bacteria and toxins into diet without heating. This diet has been crucial in the screening and the preliminary characterization of the nature of the toxicity of the purple bacteria. The freeze dried diet also works bioassays of bacteria on Lepidoptera.