Exploiting synergies to optimise the impact of entomopathogenic fungi


Abstract: The efficacy of entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) such as Metarhizium anisopliae andBeauveria bassiana is greatly improved when used with sub-lethal doses of insecticide orentomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) through additive or synergistic interactions. The latterallows each agent to be used at reduced application rates with corresponding savings for growers.The exact mechanism for the synergism is unclear. It is postulated that sub-lethal rates ofinsecticide stress the pest making it more susceptible to infection. Some insecticides may increasepest mobility and increase acquisition of EPF conidia and, since mortality is dose-related, thisincreases pest mortality. Combined application of EPF and EPN is ergonomic and can result insynergism but some workers have noted stronger synergy if the EPN are applied 1-3 weeks afterthe EPF. There is a need to identify and optimise synergies as this strategy offers many benefitsto growers including potential savings as application rates are significantly reduced. Furthermore,this strategy is in accord with the EU Directive 2009/128/EC.

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