|LACEY, LAWERENCE - Desiderio Finamore Veterinary Research Institute (FEPAGRO)|
|GRZYWACZ, DAVID - University Of Greenwich|
|Shapiro Ilan, David|
|FRUTOS, ROBERT - University Of Montpellier|
|BROWNBRIDGE, MICHAEL - Desiderio Finamore Veterinary Research Institute (FEPAGRO)|
|GOETTEL, MARK - Agriculture And Agri-Food Canada|
Submitted to: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 5/24/2015
Publication Date: 8/28/2015
Citation: Lacey, L., Grzywacz, D., Shapiro-Ilan, D.I., Frutos, R., Brownbridge, M., Goettel, M. 2015. Insect pathogens as biological control agents: back to the future. Journal of Invertebrate Pathology. 132:1-41.
Interpretive Summary: Certain naturally occurring microbes that kill insects can be used as safe and effective bio-insecticides. These microbes are called microbial control agents and the fall into several groups: virus, bacteria, fungi and nematodes. In this article we review the progress made in research and application of microbial control agents for the purpose of environmentally friendly insect pest control. Substantial progress in research and application of microbial control agents has been made in the past decade in terms of mass production, formulation, and application. There are currently numerous commercial products in each category of microbial control agents and these products are being used to control a wide variety of economically important pests in various cropping systems. However, substantial additional research is needed to improve these safe bio-pesticides further and expand their use. Research areas of interest include improving shelf-life and stability, enhancing virulence (killing power), and reducing production and application costs.
Technical Abstract: In the past 15 years a number of successes and setbacks have taken place regarding development and use of microbial control agents. In this Forum paper we present current information on development, use and future directions of entomopathogenic virus, bacteria, fungi and nematodes as components of integrated pest management strategies for control of arthropod pests of crops, forests, urban habitats, and insects of medical and veterinary importance. Insect pathogenic viruses are a fruitful source of biological pesticide active ingredients particularly for the control of lepidopteran pests. Most research is focused on the baculoviruses. A small number of entomopathogenic bacteria have been commercially developed for control of insect pests. These include several Bacillus thuringiensis sub-species, Lysinibacillus (Bacillus) sphaericus, Paenibacillus spp. and Serratia entomophila. The most widely used of these for control of pest insects of crops and forests is B. thuringiensis sub-species kurstaki and for medically important pest and vector Diptera, B. thuringiensis sub-species israelensis and L. sphaericus. Fungi are ubiquitous natural entomopathogens often causing epizootics and with many desirable traits which favor their development as microbial agents. Presently, commercialized biopesticides based on entomopathogenic fungi largely occupy niche markets. Entomopathogenic nematodes in the genera Steinernema and Heterorhabditis are potent microbial control agents. Substantial progress in research and application of microbial control agents has been made in the past decade in terms of production, formulation, and application. However, substantial additional research is needed to improve these safe bio-pesticides further and expand their use.