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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Parlier, California » San Joaquin Valley Agricultural Sciences Center » Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics Research » Research » Research Project #443900

Research Project: Identification of Novel Central Valley Insect-Attacking Fungi for Biocontrol of Glassy-Winged Sharpshooter and Vine Mealybug

Location: Crop Diseases, Pests and Genetics Research

Project Number: 2034-22000-014-019-T
Project Type: Trust Fund Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Jul 1, 2022
End Date: Jun 30, 2024

Objective:
Overall Objective: Identify insect-attacking fungal isolates that function as biological control agents of glassy-winged sharpshooter and mealybugs. Objective 1: Isolate and purify fungi from field-collected glassy-winged sharpshooter and mealybugs. Objective 2: Identify isolates that can successfully colonize and kill glassy-winged sharpshooter and mealybugs in vitro. Objective 3: Perform greenhouse plant-insect assays with biocontrol isolates to assess their ability infect glassy-winged sharpshooters and mealybugs to decrease their survival. Objective 4: Identify successful biocontrol insect-attacking fungi through genomic sequencing and assemble draft genomes.

Approach:
Glassy-winged sharpshooters (GWSS) and vine mealybug will be collected from vineyards and orchards around the Central Valley utilizing sticky traps and will be examined for instances of mycosis. Fungi responsible for mycosis will be isolated by plating surface sterilized insect cadavers and subsequent subculturing. Spores of these isolates will directly spray on insects and instances of subsequent insect death and mycosis will be recorded. This will detail which of the isolates display the ability to exert direct biocontrol over GWSS and mealybug. Successful biocontrol isolates will then be sprayed onto plants that will subsequently be enclosed with insects. This will determine the ability of the isolates to kill insects when applied to the leaf surface, as this is the most common way insects come into contact with biopesticides in agricultural settings. Isolates that exhibit successful biocontrol of insects will have their genomes sequenced by two next-generation sequencing techniques: Illumina and Nanopore. Draft genomes will be assembled via hybrid approaches using both data sets. Select genomic sequences from these assembles will be used for the identification of biocontrol isolates.