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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Pest Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #331125

Research Project: Ecology and Management of Grasshoppers and Other Rangeland and Crop Insects in the Great Plains

Location: Pest Management Research

Title: The production and uses of Beauveria bassiana as a microbial insecticide

item MASCARIN, GABRIEL - Embrapa
item Jaronski, Stefan

Submitted to: World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology
Publication Type: Literature Review
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/20/2016
Publication Date: 9/1/2016
Citation: Mascarin, G., Jaronski, S. 2016. The production and uses of Beauveria bassiana as a microbial insecticide. World Journal of Microbiology and Biotechnology. 32:177.

Interpretive Summary: The insect pathogenic fungus, Beauveria bassiana, which was described over 300 years ago, is being increasingly used to manage insect pests across the planet. This review covers aspects of its biology, how it is being mass-produced and used. It also lists all the current products, world-wide, that incorporate this fungus.

Technical Abstract: Among invertebrate fungal pathogens, Beauveria bassiana sensu lato has assumed a key role as a ubiquitous bio-regulator that induces “white muscardine disease” in numerous arthropod pests of economic agricultural, veterinary and forestry importance. This fungus species is also known to display different life styles ranging from being an endophyte to an antagonist of fungal plant diseases. Beauveria is typically deployed in one or more inundative applications of large numbers of spores in dry or liquid formulations with the aim at controlling above and below ground targets. Formulation continues to be a bottleneck in the development of stable and effective commercial Beauveria-mycoinsecticides in many countries, although good commercial formulations do exist. Employing Beauveria and pheromones in attract-and-kill traps or as seed coatings to colonize plants have also arisen as innovative delivery methods, requiring fewer spores but needing inventive formulation methods. Mass production is mainly practiced by solid-state fermentation to yield hydrophobic aerial conidia, which remain the principal active ingredient of mycoinsecticides. More robust and cost-effective fermentation and formulation downstream platforms are imperative for its overall commercialization by industry. Hence, where economics allow, submerged liquid fermentation provides a rapid, method to produce effective and stable vegetative propagules that can be easily formulated as dry stable preparations. Despite the significant volume of research on Beauveria, more knowledge is necessary to improve the bioefficacy of these products in the field. Future research on improving fermentation and formulation technologies coupled with the selection of multi-stress tolerant and virulent strains is needed to catalyze the widespread acceptance and usefulness of this fungus as a cost-effective mycoinsecticide. The role of Beauveria as one tool among many in integrated pest management, rather than a stand-alone management approach, needs to be better developed across the range of crop systems. Lastly, the endophytic attributes of Beauveria need to be exploited as another way of using this fungus. Here, we provide an overview of mass-production and formulation strategies, updated list of registered commercial products, major biocontrol programs and ecological aspects affecting the use of Beauveria as a mycoinsecticide.