Jan. 17, 2017
A large number of microorganisms that generate diseases in insects can be used for natural pest control.
A research team from Instituto de Investigación y Desarrollo Tecnológico para la Agricultura Familiar (IPAF) conducted research on different insect-susceptible pests.
The objective was to isolate, identify and maintain such pests in the laboratory. These could be used in conjunction with bio-insecticides from fungi in cotton trials.
The entomopathogenic fungi are microorganisms that adhere to the surface of the insects and develop towards the interior of the same, leading to internal damage that can result in the death of the insect. These fungi are of different genera found naturally in the environment, whether on insects, on the ground or on plants. These fungi can be cultivated in the laboratory and taken to field using different substrates and in appropriate conditions to wreak damage on the pest insects.
The use of biological insecticides from these organisms requires research into the mechanisms of action, the ecology of the insect and the conditions in which contact occurs, as also the growth of the fungus.
It will be determined as to which fungi are more pathogenic for each pest, their specificity, the ease in transferring these to the field and the best conditions for them to be used as a biological pest control method.
The use of these entomopathogens in the regulation of pest populations constitutes a viable and promising alternative that does not adversely affect the environment, which conventional insecticides do.
In addition, the fact that these fungi are only found locally can be an advantage, compared to those used in other regions, as they are already well adapted to the local environment and systems.
The IPAF team from North East Argentina (NEA) is conducting sampling on different insect susceptible pests, in search of fungal infections with the aim of isolating, identifying and keeping them in the laboratory.
So far, three strains of fungi have been isolated in the laboratory.