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Research Project: Basic and Applied Approaches for Pest Management in Vegetable Crops

Location: Vegetable Research

Title: Management of Bemisia tabaci on vegetables using entomopathogens

item LI, YINPING - Fort Valley State University
item MBATA, GEORGE - Fort Valley State University
item Simmons, Alvin
item Shapiro Ilan, David
item GEORGE, SHAOHUI - The Ohio State University

Submitted to: Crop Protection
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 2/27/2024
Publication Date: 3/7/2024
Citation: Li, Y., Mbata, G.N., Simmons, A.M., Shapiro Ilan, D.I., George, S. 2024. Management of Bemisia tabaci on vegetables using entomopathogens. Crop Protection. 180, 106638.

Interpretive Summary: The sweetpotato whitefly is a major insect pest of vegetable crops. Although vegetable growers rely heavily on chemical insecticides for whitefly control, whiteflies have developed resistance to many chemical insecticides. Therefore, improved pest management strategies against whiteflies need approaches other than relying on chemical control. This paper provides the state of the current status of biological control of the sweetpotato whitefly with insect killing pathogens (fungi, nematodes, and bacteria). Fungi is the most explored group of insect pathogens for sweetpotato whitefly control in vegetable crops, while insect killing bacteria and insect killing nematodes also receive much attention. The control efficacy of insect killing pathogens against whiteflies can vary due to many reasons, including stage of the whitefly, host plants, environmental conditions, and strain or species of the pathogen. This information on insect killing pathogens is useful for the development of promising strategies for their use by the agricultural community to manage whiteflies in vegetable crops.

Technical Abstract: The sweetpotato whitefly, Bemisia tabaci (Gennadius), is a devastating insect pest on vegetable crops around the world. This pest causes significant damage to plants by directly feeding on vegetables, excreting honeydew, inducing plant physiological disorders, and transmitting plant viruses. The combined direct and indirect damage to vegetable crops has led to substantial economic losses. Vegetable growers rely heavily on chemical insecticides for whitefly control. However, considerable resistance to many chemical insecticides has been developed in whitefly populations. Therefore, integrated pest management (IPM) is considered as a sustainable and effective approach against B. tabaci; this includes cultural control, host plant resistance, chemical insecticides, and biological control. This paper focuses on the status of biological control of B. tabaci using entomopathogens, including entomopathogenic fungi (EPF), entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN), and entomopathogenic bacteria (EPB). EPF is the most explored group of entomopathogens for B. tabaci control. Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo-Crivelli) Vuillemin, Lecanicillium lecanii (Zimmermann) Zare and Gams, and Metarhizium anisopliae (Metchnikoff) Sorokin are the three most commonly used species of EPF. Lecanicillium lecanii was demonstrated as the most effective EPF against B. tabaci on vegetable crops, followed by B. bassiana. The control efficacy of EPN against B. tabaci varies due to strains/species of EPNs, concentrations of EPNs, whitefly nymphal instars, host plants, and environmental conditions. Most research on evaluating the virulence of various EPB isolates against whiteflies has been conducted on vegetable plants in the laboratory, and Bacillus thuringiensis is the most extensively employed EPB. Entomopathogens offer a promising strategy for pest management.