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Research Project: Biological Control of Invasive Arthropod Pests from the Eastern Hemisphere

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Title: Virulence of selected entomopathogenic fungi against the olive fruit fly and their potential for biocontrol

item TANNIERES, MELANIE - European Biological Control Laboratory (EBCL)
item MERCADIER, GUY - Retired Non ARS Employee

Submitted to: Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/4/2016
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: The olive fruit fly, Bactrocera oleae (Diptera: Tephritidae), is the most serious pest of cultivated olives worldwide. Its recent invasion into North America, specifically California, has initiated renewed interest in management strategies for this pest. Research into classical biological control has been a major focal point for controlling this fly. However, the use of entomopathogenic fungi (EPF), which infect, invade, and eventually kill their host, has remained largely unexplored for this pest. One of the commonest methods used in biological control is to select agents from areas that match closely the climate of the region infested in order to increase the chances that agents discovered will be climatically adapted if they are introduced. As Mediterranean climate is found in California, explorations for EPF have been conducted in the Mediterranean Basin, including Greece and France. Therefore, five strains of EPF were isolated from soil in olive orchards in Greece and Crete in 2002 and one strain was isolated from infested olives collected in South of France in 2015. All the strains were identified as either Beauveria sp. or Metarhizium sp. Using pupae collected in infested olives, we evaluated the virulence of the isolates under laboratory conditions by inoculating pupae directly or by inoculating the soil. Emergence rate was monitored daily, and dead pupae were removed, surface sterilized and placed in sterile plates to be inspected. Identification of the EPF were confirmed based on sequencing of the ITS region. Depending on the virulence we will measure during the next summer, subsequent studies will be conducted to evaluate specificity in quarantine and efficacy in the field, in the country of origin.