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Potential for Microbial Biological Control of Coleopteran and Hemipteran Pests of Potato.

Wraight, S.P., Lacey, L.A., Kabaluk, J.T., and Goettel, M.S. (2009). "Potential for Microbial Biological Control of Coleopteran and Hemipteran Pests of Potato."


Numerous insects in the orders Coleoptera and Hemiptera are major pests of potato, Solanum tuberosum L., worldwide. Although these pests are currently managed almost exclusively with chemical insecticides, there is continuing demand for alternative controls that pose lower environmental and health risks. Biological control agents represent one such alternative, and in this review we assess the potential for use of various microbial biological control agents for control of Colorado potato beetle, wireworms, aphids, leafhoppers, and psyllids. The Colorado potato beetle (CPB) and wireworms feed by chewing plant tissues and pass substantial portions of their life cycles both above and below ground. Consequently, they can be targeted with a broad range of microbial control agents, including bacteria, fungi, and nematodes. Aphids, leafhoppers, and Psyllids, on the other hand, feed by piercing plants and sucking sap, and most species pass their lives entirely above ground; these pests are susceptible to few pathogens other than fungi. Investigations to date indicate strong potential for microbial control of CPB, using integrated applications of Bacillus thuringiensis and Beauveria bassiana. Microbial control of wireworms and hemipteran pests is farther from realization. Important constraints include: difficulties in targeting soil-inhabiting pests with microbial control agents, limited efficacy/recycling potential of nematodes applied against wireworms, limited epizootic potential of fungal pathogens in early-season, low-density hemipteran pest populations, and problems with mass production and formulation of key fungal pathogens of Hemiptera. Latest research efforts aimed at overcoming these constraints are reviewed.

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