Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: November 12, 1999
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Bacteria, fungi, and viruses are all used as biopesticides to control insects, weeds, and plant diseases. The "biopesticide" approach to biological control mimics chemical control practices in that massive quantities of pathogens or antagonists of the pest are applied, as needed. Bacterial biocontrol agents produce specific antimicrobial, insecticidal, or herbicidal compounds which kill or inhibit their pest host. Fungal biopesticides actively infect, colonize, and kill their host. The selection of the appropriate biocontrol agent for a given pest is dependent on the biology of the pest-pathogen interaction. Bacterial biocontrol agents effectively control foraging insect pests or act as antagonists for suppression of plant diseases. Fungal biocontrol agents work well as contact biopesticides and as plant disease antagonists. Commercial requirements for use of all biopesticides include low-cost production methods, stable products with an adequate shelf-life, and consistent pest control under field conditions. Commercial production processes for biopesticidal propagules include production in a living host, liquid culture fermentation, and solid substrate fermentation. All production methods must be optimized to yield high concentrations of stable, effective biopesticidal propagules. In general, biopesticidal propagules are stabilized as dry preparations. Production, formulation, and application technology all play key roles in assuring consistent pest control. The development of living microbial biopesticides has augmented current chemical pest control measures by providing farmers and greenhouse operators with an additional pest control tool.