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Title: Occurrence of invertebrate-pathogenic fungi in a Cerrado ecosystem in Central Brazil

item Rocha, L. F.
item Tai, M.h.
item Santos, A.
item Albernaz, D. A.
item Humber, Richard
item Luz, C.

Submitted to: Biocontrol Science and Technology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/28/2009
Publication Date: 3/15/2009
Citation: Rocha, L.N., Tai, M.H., Santos, A.H., Albernaz, D.S., Humber, R.A., Luz, C. 2009. Occurrence of invertebrate-pathogenic fungi in a Cerrado ecosystem in Central Brazil. Biocontrol Science and Technology. 19:547-553.

Interpretive Summary: This paper reports an ongoing effort to characterize the biodiversity of fungal pathogens affecting insects and other invertebrates, especially pathogens affecting such important vectors of human diseases as mosquitoes and snails (that are hosts for stages of some significant human and livestock pathogens) from an endangered savannah ecosystem in central Brazil, the Cerrado. The fungi discussed here were recovered by either baiting fungi from environmental samples of soil, mud, or water with a series of ‘bait’ invertebrates (mosquitoes, assassin bugs, and snails) and by direct collection of infected insects from the environment. The differences between the types of fungi collected by these two general approaches are discussed. An unusually dense outbreak of fungal disease among small flies is illustrated. These are among the first published reports of insect pathenogenic fungi from this part of Brazil and provides some of the only data available about fungal pathogens affecting snails.

Technical Abstract: Biological diversity of microorganisms in natural environments is threatened worldwide by human activities. In a protected area of Cerrado, Goiás State, Brazil, naturally occurring invertebrate-pathogenic fungi were isolated from soils, slurries and water samples collected during the dry season in 2006 in a tropical gallery forest using 5 different invertebrates with importance to human or animal health as host bait. Of a total of 68 isolates, fungi belonged mostly to the genera Metarhizium, Paecilomyces, Pochonia, Fusarium, Gliocladium and Beauveria. The vast majority were baited with Rhodnius neglectus; few isolates were obtained after baiting with a tick, mollusk and culicid larvae. In the rainy season in 2006/2007 specimens of Aschersonia/Hypocrella, Fusarium, Beauveria, Hirsutella, Lecanicillium, Cordyceps, Torrubiella, Batkoa and Pandora were collected from dipteran, hemipteran, coleopteran and hymenopteran mycotized insects in the same area. The elevated biodiversity of invertebrate-pathogenic fungi in this particular ecosystem underlines importance to study and to preserve these fungi as well as to investigate their potential for pest control.