Sep. 16, 2020
By Leonardo Gottems, Reporter for AgroPages
The Biological Institute (IB-APTA), in partnership with the state government of São Paulo, launched, in Brazil, a selection of products based on the fungus, Beauveria bassiana, for the biological control of the insect, Cosmopolites sordidus.
Since the fungus is a natural enemy of the pest, banana producers do not need to apply chemicals.
“The IB selected the fungus, Beauveria bassiana, to control this pest. The IBCB66 strain is used by producers around the country, including in organic production,” said Antonio Batista Filho (Coordinator of the São Paulo Agribusiness Technology Agency, APTA), who has been a researcher at the IB for 37 years working in the area of biological control.
According to Filho, Cosmopolites sordidus is one of the main banana pests, responsible for a 30% reduction in plant productivity, adding that the first manifestations of borer attacks are characterized externally by the yellowing of leaves and a reduction in the size of banana bunches.
“Direct damage is caused by the larva that penetrates and blocks the rhizome of the plant, building galleries in all directions. These galleries allow the entry of pathogenic microorganisms, such as Fusarium oxysporum f. Cuban, responsible for the disease known as Panama disease. It is common for plants to fall in heavily attacked areas,” he explained.
A total of 85 biofactories in Brazil produce Beauveria bassiana for the biological control in bananas. The fungus selected by the IB is used on 5,000 hectares of banana crops in Brazil.
The IB is a reference in Brazil and the rest of the world of biological control and has a strong presence in the production sector, having guided the creation and maintenance of bio-factories that develop these biological products for application on crops. In all, more than 80 biofactories from around Brazil receive guidance from IB researchers. In 2019, the institute signed 23 technology transfer contracts with these companies, located in São Paulo, Minas Gerais, Mato Grosso and Paraná.
The institute also manages the Program for Innovation and Technology Transfer in Biological Control (Probio), which brings together the technologies and services offered by the institute, mainly for the cultivation of sugarcane, soy, banana, rubber, flowers, strawberry, beans and vegetables.
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