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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: An Introduction to Microbial Control of Insect Pests of Potato

item Lacey, Lawrence
item Kroschel, Jurgen
item Wraight, Stephen - Steve
item Goettel, Mark

Submitted to: Fruit, Vegetable, and Cereal Science and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/22/2008
Publication Date: 5/10/2009
Citation: Lacey, L.A., Kroschel, J., Wraight, S.P., Goettel, M.S. 2009. An Introduction to Microbial Control of Insect Pests of Potato. Fruit, Vegetable, and Cereal Science and Biotechnology 3:20-24.

Interpretive Summary: A wide variety of insects attack potato world wide. They feed on every part of the plant (leaves, stems, and tubers) and several of these pests also transmit plant pathogens. Reliance on chemical insecticides for insect control has resulted in a variety of safety and environmental problems. Scientists at the USDA, Agricultural Research Service Laboratories in Wapato, WA and Ithaca, NY, the International Potato Center in Lima Peru, and Agriculture Canada in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada are researching control of insect pests of potato using insect-specific pathogens. In this presentation they have reviewed the literature on the use and potential of microbial control of potato tuber moth, Colorado potato beetle and other insects. These insects are economically important pests of potato in the United States. This information will provide researchers and potato producers with a comprehensive resource for planning control strategies that employ insect-specific pathogens for control of insect pests of potato. Such strategies will result in better safety for applicators and the food supply and will minimize environmental contamination.

Technical Abstract: Despite allelochemical defenses, potato is attacked by a multitude of invertebrate pests including insects, mites, slugs, and nematodes. Insects feed on every part of the plant (leaves, stems, and tubers) and several of these pests also serve as vectors of plant pathogens. Reliance on broad spectrum insecticides has resulted in the development of resistance in targeted pest populations, safety risks to farm workers, the food supply, and the environment. An integrated pest management (IPM) strategy, in which natural enemies of pest arthropods and other alternative measures for crop protection will minimize the negative effects of broad spectrum pesticides and provide a more sustainable approach to pest control. Due to their selectivity and safety, microbial control agents appear to be ready made components of IPM systems that do not pose a threat to applicators or the environment and allow other natural enemies to function. In this review, the major potato insect pests and the potential for their microbial control will be highlighted. Potato tuber moth and the Colorado potato beetle have received the most applied research and development of microbial insecticides and will be emphasized in this review.

Last Modified: 06/24/2017
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