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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Microbial Biopesticides

Author
item Jackson, Mark

Submitted to: Book Chapter
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: October 6, 1999
Publication Date: N/A

Technical Abstract: The inundative or biopesticide approach to biological control mimics chemical control practices in that massive quantities of pathogens or antagonists of the pest are applied, as needed. Bacteria, fungi, and viruses are all used as biopesticides to control insects, weeds, and plant diseases. The use of bacterial biocontrol agents is based on the ability of selected bacterial strains to produce specific antimicrobial, insecticidal, or herbicidal compounds. Fungal biopesticides possess the unique ability to 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 work well on foraging insect pests or as antagonists for suppression of plant diseases. Fungal biocontrol agents work well as contact biopesticides and as plant disease antagonists. The commercial use of all biopesticides is dependent on low-cost production method, stable products with a shelf-life of 6-18 months, and consistent pest control under field conditions. Commercial methods of production for biopesticidal propagules include the use of 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. Desiccation is the principle method used to stabilize biopesticidal propagules. Production, formulation, and application technology all play important roles in assuring consistent pest control. The development of living microbial biopesticides has augmented current chemical pest control measures by providing farmers with an additional pest control tool.

Last Modified: 12/26/2014