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ARS Home » Plains Area » Sidney, Montana » Northern Plains Agricultural Research Laboratory » Pest Management Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #343395

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

Location: Pest Management Research

Title: Using insect pathogenic fungi to manage insect pests, where are we going? (Where SHOULD We Be Going?)

item Jaronski, Stefan

Submitted to: IOBC/WPRS Bulletin (Abstract for Conference Proceedings)
Publication Type: Proceedings
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/2/2017
Publication Date: 12/31/2017
Citation: Jaronski, S. 2017. Using insect pathogenic fungi to manage insect pests, where are we going? In: E. Tarasco, J.A. Jehle, M. Burjanadze, L. Ruiu, V. Puža, E. Quesada-Moraga, M. Lopez-Ferber, D. Stephan, editors. Proceedings of the 16th meeting “Is IPM ready for Microbial Control Agents?”, June 11-15, 2017, Tbilisi, Georgia. IOBC/WPRS Bulletin. 129:79-82.

Interpretive Summary: Use of mycoinsecticides (insect pathogenic fungus-based materials), along with bacteria and viruses, have seen steadily increasing use in the past two decades. Nevertheless, they are subjected to numerous user criticisms, criticism that has slowed adoption. In response, the scientific community has sought to develop a wide variety of measures from novel formulations to new application methods in attempts to increase their efficacy, with greater or lesser success. What is altogether forgotten in mycoinsecticide development is that these organisms should not be used in a chemical paradigm, simply to replace chemical insecticides. This has been the common conscious, even unconscious, perspective in the development of commercial products. Rather, mycoinsecticides need to be incorporated into integrated pest management (IPM) programs, as one component among several. In such use less than chemical efficacy is quite acceptable. This incorporation needs to be considered from the very outset during development of candidate fungi.

Technical Abstract: Since the initial efforts to take advantage of entomopathogenic Ascomycetes in the 19th Century, with the work of Metchnikoff with Metarhizium in Russia and the Kansas Department of Agriculture in the U.S. with Beauveria, practical exploitation of these fungi has steadily increased to the present day, slowly at first, then with increasing rapidity during the past three decades. Today, these fungi are a significant component of microbial biopesticides. A 2007 survey recorded over 110 commercial products using Ascomycete; today there are about 160. How are we using them? All too often, we use them as inundative, catastrophic mortality factors, i.e. like chemicals, frequently leading to user disappointment. In response, new and often ingenious methods have been devised to improve efficacy, through formulations, application methods, even genetic modification. In recent years new, potentially exciting uses have also appeared, changing our perception of these microorganisms — as plant endophytes that can affect herbivorous insects either directly or via induced systemic resistance. Regardless, how should we be using them? The answer lies in the context of integrated pest management, in which biopesticides are just one component of a holistic, sustainable agriculture and not in a chemical paradigm.