Submitted to: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication Type: Peer reviewed journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/16/1999
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: Interpretive Summary: Many insect pests of agriculture are periodic or sporadic, i.e., they do not damage crops every year and when they do, it is not over a wide area. The black cutworm, a pest of early growth stage corn is such a pest. Currently, control procedures for this pest are to use rescue treatments of chemical insecticides. Researchers have identified and characterized an insect virus from this insect. An insect virus has a narrow host range killing only its target or very closely related species and is not a contributor to environmental contamination. In laboratory tests only small amounts of this virus are needed to kill larvae of the black cutworm. This research provides corn growers with a biological control organism to manage the black cutworm.
Technical Abstract: The black cutworm, Agrotis ipsilon (Hufnagel) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae), is a serious localized pest of vegetable and field crops. We have characterized a newly discovered baculovirus, the Agrotis ipsilon multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (AiNINPV), that was isolated from A. ipsilon in Illinois. Restriction enzyme fragment profiles of AiNINPV DNA were distinct from those of previously described nucleopolyhedroviruses. Electron microscopy of AiNINPV-infected tissues indicated that nucleocapsids of this virus are multiply enveloped. A. ipsilon was highly susceptible to infection by AiMNPV and significantly more susceptible to infection by AiNINPV than by Autographa californica multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV). Host range studies showed that Heliothis virescens and Helicoverpa zea were moderately susceptible to infection; Pseudaletia unipuncta and Spodoptera frugiperda were only partially susceptible, and Anticarsia gemmatalis, Spodoptera exigua, Trichoplusia ni and Ostrinia nubilalis were not susceptible to infection by AiMNPV. Because of its high virulence, AiMNPV has potential as an alternative to chemical insecticides for control of A. ipsilon.