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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Ithaca, New York » Robert W. Holley Center for Agriculture & Health » Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research » Research » Research Project #420492


Location: Emerging Pests and Pathogens Research

Project Number: 8062-22000-019-00-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Nov 1, 2010
End Date: Oct 25, 2015

1: Characterize fungal strains associated with insects (including insect pathogens and symbionts and plant pathogens vectored by insects) and develop methods to enable their rapid identification and tracking. 1a. Develop molecular assays to detect and quantify plant pathogenic oomycetes vectored by insects to verify transmission. 1b. Identify the primary fungal symbiont associated with Asian ambrosia beetles and assess the genetic diversity of these fungi from beetles in the eastern United States. 1c. Evaluate fungal delivery, establishment and persistence in target populations of invasive wood-boring beetles. 2: Determine and improve the effectiveness of fungi for use within integrated management systems for greenhouse, horticultural and landscape pests, including but not restricted to thrips, whiteflies, ambrosia beetles and emerald ash borer. 2a. Develop a biologically-based IPM program for western flower thrips infesting greenhouse crops. 2b. Compare the efficacy of Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae against the Q biotype of Bemesia tabaci. 2c. Develop available microbial control agents for management of Asian ambrosia beetles and their symbiotic fungi. 2d. Integrate pathogenic fungi with other biocontrol agents for emerald ash borer and evaluate non-target impacts.

The goals of this project are to integrate entomopathogenic fungi into management systems for selected insect pests of horticultural, nursery and landscape plants and to track fungal strains in these environments. The work comprises fundamental laboratory studies as well as applied greenhouse and field research. This project will develop basic information on the biology of fungal and oomycete pathogens associated with insects, their genetic and phenotypic variability, and their survival and transmission in greenhouse and field environments. Integration of fungal pathogens will be accomplished for management of key pests: a biologically based program will combine use of pathogens and predators for control of western flower thrips infesting greenhouse crops; efficacy of fungal pathogens will be determined for Bemisia whiteflies (B. tabaci Q biotype); microbial control agents will be developed for management of Asian ambrosia beetles; and a fungal mycoinsecticide will be integrated with other biocontrol agents used against emerald ash borer. Fungi used in the ways developed in this project will provide safe, effective biological alternatives to synthetic chemical insecticides and/or rotational partners for insecticide resistance management.