Submitted to: Fungal Ecology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/6/2009
Publication Date: 8/21/2009
Citation: Vega, F.E., Goettel, M.S., Blackwell, M., Chandler, D., Jackson, M.A., Keller, S., Koike, M., Maniania, N.K., Monzon, A., Ownley, B., Pell, J.K., Rangel, D., Roy, H. 2009. Fungal entomopathogens: new insights on their ecology. Fungal Ecology. 2:149-159.
Technical Abstract: One important mechanism for insect pest control is the use of fungal entomopathogens. Even though these organisms have been studied for more than 100 years, their effective use in the field remains elusive. Recently, however, it has been discovered that many of these entomopathogenic fungi play additional roles in nature, including endophytism, antagonism to plant pathogens, associations with the rhizosphere, and possibly even acting as plant growth promoting agents. These findings indicate that the ecological role of these fungi in the environment is not fully understood and limits our ability to successfully employ them for pest management. In this paper, we review the recently discovered roles played by entomopathogenic fungi and propose new research strategies focused on alternate uses for these fungi. It seems likely that these agents can be used in multiple roles in protecting plants from insects, diseases and at the same time promoting plant growth.