Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: September 5, 2006
Publication Date: June 25, 2007
Citation: Jackson, M.A. 2007. The biotechnology of producing and stabilizing living, microbial biological control agents for insect and weed control. In: Hou, C., editor. Biocatalysis and Biotechnology: Functional Foods and Industrial Products. Boca Ratan, FL: CRC Press. p. 533-543. Technical Abstract: The "biopesticide" approach to the microbial biological control of insects and weeds requires the production and application of large quantities of infective propagules of the microbial agent. The selection of the appropriate biocontrol agent for a given pest is dependent on the biology of the pest-pathogen interaction and its amenability to production and stabilization processes. While bacterial and viral biocontrol agents work well on foraging insect pests, fungal biopesticides possess the unique ability to actively infect, colonize, and kill their insect or weed host. Fungal biocontrol agents work well as contact biopesticides for both weeds and insects. The commercial use of all biopesticides is dependent on the development of low-cost production methods that yield high concentrations of stable, infective microbial propagules. Liquid culture fermentation is the predominant method for bacterial biopesticide production. Fungal biopesticides are produced via both liquid and solid substrate fermentation methods. Nutrition plays a critical part in the suitability of these production and stabilization methods and must be optimized to yield high concentrations of stable, effective biopesticidal propagules. Formulation, storage conditions, and application technology for microbial biocontrol agents all play important roles in assuring consistent pest control under field conditions. The development of effective, living microbial biopesticides will augment current chemical pest control measures by providing farmers with an additional environmentally friendly pest control tool.