Submitted to: World Wide Web
Publication Type: Other
Publication Acceptance Date: May 20, 2010
Publication Date: July 1, 2010
Citation: Jackson, M.A., Jaronski, S. 2010. Production of microsclerotia of the fungal entomopathogen Metarhizium anisopliae and their potential for use as a biocontrol agent for soil-inhabiting insects. INTA News, Boletin MIP No. 17, July 2010. Available: http://www.inta.gov.ar/imyza/info/bol/mip/10/bol17/mip17.htm#3. Technical Abstract: Microsclerotia (MS), overwintering structures produced by many plant pathogenic fungi, have not been described for Metarhizium anisopliae. Three strains of M. anisopliae – F52, TM109, and MA1200 – formed MS in shake flask cultures using media with varying carbon concentrations and carbon-to-nitrogen (C:N) ratios. Under the conditions of this study, all strains produced MS, compact hyphal aggregates that become pigmented with culture age, in addition to more typical blastospores and mycelia. While all strains formed desiccation tolerant MS, highest concentrations (2.7–2.9 × 108 L-1 liquid medium) were produced in rich media with C:N ratios of 30:1 and 50:1 by strain F52. All three strains of M. anisopliae produced similar biomass concentrations when media and growth time were compared. Strain MA1200 produced higher concentrations of blastospores than the other two strains of M. anisopliae with highest blastospore concentrations (1.6 and 4.2 × 108 blastospores ml-1 on days 4 and 8, respectively) in media with the highest carbon and nitrogen concentrations. MS preparations of M. anisopliae containing diatomaceous earth survived air-drying (to <5 % moisture) with no significant loss in viability. Rehydration and incubation of air-dried MS granules on water agar plates resulted in hyphal germination and sporogenic germination to produce high concentrations of conidia. Bioassays using soil-incorporated, air-dried MS preparations resulted in significant infection and mortality in larvae of the sugar beet root maggot, Tetanops myopaeformis. This is the first report of the production of sclerotial bodies by M. anisopliae and provides a novel approach for the control of soil-dwelling insects with this entomopathogenic fungus.