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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: The Potential of the Fungus, Muscodor Albus As a Microbial Control Agent of Potato Tuber Moth (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in Stored Potatoes.

item Lacey, Lawrence
item Neven, Lisa

Research conducted cooperatively with:
item Agraquest, Inc.

Submitted to: Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: January 6, 2006
Publication Date: March 1, 2006
Repository URL:
Citation: Lacey, L.A., Neven, L.G. 2006. The potential of the fungus, Muscodor albus as a microbial control agent of potato tuber moth (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) in stored potatoes. J. Invertebr. Pathol. 91: 195-198.

Interpretive Summary: The potato tuber moth (PTM) is a widespread pest of potato plants and tubers throughout the tropics and subtropics in most countries where potatoes are grown, including the United States. Recently PTM has become established in potato growing areas of the temperate Pacific Northwest of the United States (Eastern Washington and Oregon) where it is regarded as a major pest of potato. Current means of control prior to harvest comprise several broad spectrum insecticides and cultural methods. The preharvest interval of most chemical insecticides does not permit treatment of tubers just prior to storage. Researchers at the USDA-ARS, Yakima Agricultural Research Laboratory are conducting studies to develop and evaluate a fungus, Muscodor albus as a biofumigant for control of PTM in stored potatoes. Volatiles produced by the fungus controlled PTM adults and recently hatched larvae. The fungus may provide alternatives to fumigants such as methyl bromide.

Technical Abstract: Potato tuber moth (PTM) is a serious pest of stored potato in most countries where potatoes are grown. Pathogens that are specific to insects offer promise as alternatives to broad spectrum insecticides for management of this pest. The fungus Muscador albus produces a mixture of volatile organic chemicals that are pathogenic to a broad range of plant and human pathogenic fungi and bacteria. This is the first report of its pathogenic activity for insects. PTM adults and neonate larvae were exposed to volatiles generated by 15 or 30 g of formulated M. albus mycelia on barley seeds plus water for 72 hours in hermetically sealed 28.3 liter chambers. Mean percent mortalities in adult moths exposed to 0, 15 and 30 g of fungal formulation were 0.9, 84.6, and 90.6%, respectively. Development to the pupal stage of PTM that were exposed as neonate larvae to 15 or 30 of formulated M. albus mycelia was reduced by 61.8 and 72.8%, respectively relative to controls.

Last Modified: 4/22/2015
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