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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Research Project: IPM-BASED STRATEGIES FOR BIOLOGICAL CONTROL OF GREENHOUSE AND VEGETABLE CROP PESTS

Location: Biological Integrated Pest Management Unit

Title: Biological control in greenhouses using entomopathogenic fungi

Authors
item Wraight, Stephen
item Ugine, Todd - CORNELL UNIVERSITY
item Filotas, Melanie - ONTARIO MINISTRY OF AG.
item Sanderson, John - CORNELL UNIVERSITY

Submitted to: Biological Control Symposium Proceedings
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: June 28, 2007
Publication Date: July 2, 2007
Citation: Wraight, S.P., Ugine, T.A., Filotas, M.J., Sanderson, J.P. 2007. Biological control in greenhouses using entomopathogenic fungi. Biological Control Symposium Proceedings. p. 47.

Technical Abstract: The most important greenhouse (GH) pests, whiteflies, aphids, thrips, mealybugs, scales, and mites, all feed on plant saps via piercing-sucking mouthparts. This has important implications with respect to microbial biocontrol, as pathogens capable of invading their hosts via penetration of the body wall, viz., the fungi, are virtually the only microbes with potential to control these pests. There are many factors suggesting strong potential for use of these agents in GH: 1) Fungi require specific environmental conditions for host infection, and these conditions can be regulated to a significant degree in enclosed crops. GH glass also blocks fungicidal UV radiation. 2) Residues of toxic pesticides are more persistent in protected environments, increasing risk to workers. Many crops must be harvested daily, lending additional advantage to use of safe biocontrol agents. Intensive use of chemicals against contained pest populations also promotes development of resistance. 3) GH crops are generally of high value; this makes it possible to maximize biopesticide efficacy through application of high rates and use of efficient application equipment. 4) Contained environments support use of other natural enemies for pest control, and there is considerable potential for integrating fungi with these agents. Despite these advantages, GH markets for mycopesticides have been slow to develop. The reasons for this are numerous and include such factors as slow action, high costs, and fungicide incompatibilities. In this presentation, advantages and difficulties related to use of arthropod pathogenic fungi for control of GH pests will be discussed, and GH-cropping systems in which fungal pathogens have shown commercial promise will be reviewed.

Last Modified: 9/22/2014
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