Submitted to: Society of Industrial Microbiology Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: August 15, 2002
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Biological control" refers to the reduction of crop pests or their deleterious activities by one or more antagonistic organisms present in the environment. Thousands of potential microbial biocontrol agents have been isolated from agricultural fields and crops during research over the last 80 years, yet relatively few are in commercial use. Recently, public health and safety concerns about the environmental impact of chemical pesticides have led to consideration of biological control as a natural approach to maintaining crop health. However, despite environmental incentives and strong research efforts, commercialization of biological control agents has been slow to evolve partly due to production and storage limitations. To be cost effective for commercial use, biological control agents must not only be produced in high yield but must also meet the following quality criteria: high (near 100%) retention of cell viability with maintenance of crop compatibility and bioefficacy during several months of storage. Research examples will be reviewed to illustrate approaches to fostering the ability of biological control agents to survive processing stresses typical of submerged cultivation and storage in liquid or dry formats. Examples will include screening techniques to select strains most amenable to liquid cultivation, growth medium manipulations to enhance cultivation and storage survival, and cell formulation methods to further enhance survival during storage after harvest.