Biocontrol of Important Soil Dwelling Pests by Improving the Efficacy of Insect Pathogenic Fungi (BIPESCO)

Specific Ojections:
Compare strains of the insect pathogenic fungi Beauveria brongniartii and Metarhizium anisopliae for host range, ecological fitness and virulence.
Use molecular markers and most discriminating methods already available to characterize strains with commercial potential.
Use simple physiological and biochemical techniques to monitor fungal stability and virulence in culture.
Optimize the impact of pathogens on pest populations through improved delivery and targeting strategies.
Monitor the spatial-temporal distribution of natural and released pathogens in the field using molecular methods to distinguish between strains.

Specific Benefits:
Fungal agents and methodologies for the control of scarab and weevil larvae in the soil.
Data for use in the registration and commercialisation of fungal biological control agents, accompanied with isolate-specific primers.
Improved understanding of production, formulation and targeting strategies and ways of optimizing the impact of the pathogen for control of insect pests.
Extensions workers and commercial companies will receive tested methods for the rapid identification of virulent strains of entomopathogenic fungi.
Molecular tools to follow the fate of introduced and indigenous inoculum.
The proposed procedure not only guarantees an environmentally friendly control approach but it can minimise or even phase out ineffective or harmful chemical insecticides (such as methylbromide).

Key Tasks Managed by Partners:

Key Tasks

Major Collaborative Tasks:
Production of stable, virulent and ecologically competent biocontrol agents;
Field studies - impact assessment and optimisation.

Target Pests

BIPESCO Target Pests



Under the wide range of edaphic conditions highly virulent fungal strains of commercial potential will be investigated which infect scarab (Melolontha melolontha, M. hippocastani, Amphimallon solstitialis and Phyllopertha horticola) and weevil pests (Otiorhyncus spp. and Strophosoma spp.). The image shows the complex interactions which are considered to be studied by the BIPESCO team in this RTD-project.


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