Monday, December 11, 2006

Whey-based fungal micro-factories for in situ production of entomopathogenic fungi

Stacie Grassano, and Scott Costa, University of Vermont, Plant and Soil Science, 105 Carrigan Drive, Hills Building, Burlington, VT

The hemlock woolly adelgid (HWA, Adelges tsugae Annand, Homoptera: Adelgidae) is an invasive aphid like insect from Asia that is causing serious damage to the eastern hemlock and Carolina hemlock. Chemical, cultural, and biological control efforts have been implemented in states with high populations of HWA. Chemical applications are costly and current formulations are difficult to apply in large stands and in forested areas. Predatory beetles native to Asia; have been researched, reared, and released into infested stands in the eastern U.S. Their success for management of HWA has been difficult to ascertain. Entomopathogenic fungi are another bio-control agent with potential to manage and suppress adelgid populations. These insect-killing fungi can live in diverse habitats and cause major reductions in pest populations. Two species have been identified as active against HWA in field trials. The production of fungal micro-factories via whey-based formulations should promote multiplication of fungi in the environment. The whey should act as a nutritive substrate for fungi sprayed into hemlock forests. Formulation droplets deposited on hemlock needles should support fungal growth and serve as tiny factories for conidia production.

Species 1: Hemiptera Adelgidae Adelges tsugae (hemlock woolly adelgid)
Species 2: Deuteromycetes Moniliaceae Verticillium lecanii (white halo fungus)