Location: Sustainable Perennial Crops
Title: Fungal Entomopathogens Authors
Submitted to: Insect Pathology
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: July 28, 2011
Publication Date: February 1, 2012
Citation: Vega, F.E., Meyling, N.V., Luangsa-Ard, J.J., Blackwell, M. 2012. Fungal Entomopathogens. In: Vega, F., Kaya, H.K., editors. Insect Pathology. 2nd Edition. San Diego, CA: Academic Press. p. 171-220. Technical Abstract: Fungal entomopathogens are important biological control agents worldwide and have been the subject of intense research for more than100 years. They exhibit both sexual and asexual reproduction and produce different types of infective propagules. Their mode of action against insects involves attachment of the spore to the insect cuticle followed by germination, cuticle penetration, and internal dissemination throughout the insect. During this process, which might involve the production of secondary metabolites, the internal organs of the insect are negatively affected. Environmental factors such as ultraviolet light, temperature, and humidity, can influence the effectiveness of fungal entomopathogens in the field. Phylogenetic studies have resulted in a better understanding of associations with other fungi as well as a new classification scheme. Ecological studies have revealed fascinating aspects related to their host range, distribution, abundance, and tropic interactions. The development of fungal entomopathogens as effective biological control agents requires knowledge on bioassay methods, as well as production, formulation, and application methodologies. Some important case studies involve the gypsy moth in the United States, locusts and grasshoppers in Africa, and spittlebugs in Brazil. This chapter focuses on the biology, classification and phylogeny, ecology, and use of fungal entomopathogens as biological control agents.