Microbial control of whiteflies
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CTA. 1994. Microbial control of whiteflies. Spore 50. CTA, Wageningen, The Netherlands.
Permanent link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10568/49356
The whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, which is variously known as the cassava, cotton or tobacco whitefly, is a cosmopolitan pest attacking a wide range of arable, horticultural and ornamental crops. As well as causing direct damage through feeding, and...
The whitefly, Bemisia tabaci, which is variously known as the cassava, cotton or tobacco whitefly, is a cosmopolitan pest attacking a wide range of arable, horticultural and ornamental crops. As well as causing direct damage through feeding, and indirect damage through excretion of honey dew the insect is a vector of several major plant viruses, including African cassava mosaic virus, cotton leaf curl and tomato yellow leaf curl virus. In recent years there has been a general upsurge in whitefly populations world-wide and this insect is now regarded as the major threat to crop production in a number of countries. The reasons for this upsurge are poorly understood, but major contributors are the emergence of a new biotype with different host range characteristics and the development of resistance to conventional chemical insecticides. Recent research has demonstrated that microbial pesticides could play an important role in controlling whiteflies as Fart of an integrated resistance management strategy. Of the potential microbial control agents pathogenic fungi are the most promising because, unlike other microbes, they do not have to be ingested in order to infect the host; instead fungal conidia or spores adhere to the host, germinate and penetrate the insect cuticle, leading to infection and death. This contact activity is an important requirement for controlling a sucking pest like the whitefly. A number of species of fungi from several genera are being tested or developed for control of whitefly. These microbes can be produced at a local level using simple technology and are environmentally benign. Successful control has been achieved under field conditions and commercial development is underway. Two products are expected on the US market in the near future, one based on Beauveria and the other based on Paecilomyces. Research at the Natural Resources Institute is aimed at assessing the potential of fungi as one component of integrated pest and resistance management systems this includes the use of combined microbial formulations for use against pest complexes. The research is being undertaken in collaboration with the International Institute of Biological Control (IIBC) and is focused on the development of sustainable control measures for developing countries. Dr Keith Jones, NRI Central Avenue Chatham Maritime Kent ME4 4TB, UK