Biological Pest Control in Agroecosystems

A special issue of Agronomy (ISSN 2073-4395). This special issue belongs to the section "Pest and Disease Management".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2024 | Viewed by 6814

Special Issue Editor


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agronomy, Center of Agrarian Sciences and Engineering, Espírito Santo Federal University, Alto Universitário, s/n, Guararema, Alegre 29500-000, Espírito Santo, Brazil
Interests: entomology; biological control; integrated pest management

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The biological control of insect pests has been increasingly used in integrated pest management (IPM) in recent years. The use of natural enemies in the management of insect pests has a series of benefits, such as the absence of environmental pollution and ecological imbalances, and it guarantees better food quality and health safety for consumers, producers, and workers. Even in the face of the benefits of using biological control, there are still many challenges to its adoption in practice. Therefore, the purpose of this Special Issue is to highlight recent research on the biological control of insects.

Prof. Dr. Dirceu Pratissoli
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agronomy is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biological control
  • insect
  • integrated pest management
  • sustainability
  • ecological balance

Published Papers (7 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

Jump to: Other

18 pages, 1460 KiB  
Article
Endophytic Capacity of Entomopathogenic Fungi in a Pasture Grass and Their Potential to Control the Spittlebug Mahanarva spectabilis (Hemiptera: Cercopidae)
by Michelle O. Campagnani, Alexander Machado Auad, Rogério Martins Maurício, Ana Paula Madureira, Mauroni Alves Cangussú, Luiz Henrique Rosa, Marcelo Francisco A. Pereira, Mayco Muniz, Sebastião Rocha O. Souza, Natany Brunelli M. Silva, Ana Carolina Rios Silva and Wellington Garcia Campos
Agronomy 2024, 14(5), 943; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14050943 - 30 Apr 2024
Viewed by 544
Abstract
Pests in pastures have compromised the production of biomass for feeding livestock herds. Many strategies have been applied to sustainably solve this problem. One viable and innovative technique is the delivery of entomopathogenic fungi through endophytes. Therefore, this study aimed to (i) evaluate [...] Read more.
Pests in pastures have compromised the production of biomass for feeding livestock herds. Many strategies have been applied to sustainably solve this problem. One viable and innovative technique is the delivery of entomopathogenic fungi through endophytes. Therefore, this study aimed to (i) evaluate the endophytic capacity of two entomopathogenic fungi, Fusarium multiceps UFMGCB 11443 and Metarhizium anisopliae UFMGCB 11444, in Urochloa brizantha [(Hochst. ex A. Rich.) Stapf] (Poaceae) cultivar ‘Marundu’) via foliar inoculation or seed treatment, and (ii) measure their efficiency in controlling Mahanarva spectabilis Distant, 1909 (Hemiptera: Cercopidae) in U. brizantha. In the greenhouse, the fungi colonized the tissues of U. brizantha plants when inoculated via foliar spraying or seed treatment. The fungi F. multiceps and M. anisopliae caused 88% and 97.1% epizootic effects via seed inoculation, respectively, and 100% epizootic effects via foliar inoculation. In the field, the lowest fungal dose of 0.5 kg/ha had the same effect as a fourfold greater dose, with a >86% decrease in insect pest infestation observed. In summary, the fungi F. multiceps and M. anisopliae have endophytic effects and can effectively control M. spectabilis in U. brizantha pastures. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Pest Control in Agroecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

21 pages, 922 KiB  
Article
Efficacy and Persistence of Entomopathogenic Fungi against Rhynchophorus ferrugineus on Date Palm: Host to Host Transmission
by Waleed S. Alwaneen, Waqas Wakil, Nickolas G. Kavallieratos, Mirza Abdul Qayyum, Muhammad Tahir, Khawaja G. Rasool, Mureed Husain, Abdulrahman S. Aldawood and David Shapiro-Ilan
Agronomy 2024, 14(4), 642; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14040642 - 22 Mar 2024
Viewed by 849
Abstract
The red palm weevil (RPW), Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae), is a destructive and voracious pest of palm species worldwide. Due to environmental and regulatory concerns, ecologically safe alternatives to synthetic chemical insecticides are needed to manage this cryptic insect species. Entomopathogenic fungi [...] Read more.
The red palm weevil (RPW), Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (Olivier) (Coleoptera: Dryophthoridae), is a destructive and voracious pest of palm species worldwide. Due to environmental and regulatory concerns, ecologically safe alternatives to synthetic chemical insecticides are needed to manage this cryptic insect species. Entomopathogenic fungi have the potential to manage this pest. The scope of management and effectiveness can be improved by direct control or horizontal transmission of entomopathogenic fungal isolates. We tested in the laboratory the virulence and pathogenicity of fifteen different entomopathogenic fungal isolates belonging to the following species: Beauveria bassiana, Metarhizium anisopliae, Beauveria brongniartii and Purpureocillium lilacinum. All fungal isolates were found virulent against larvae (14.9 ± 1.06 to 81.5 ± 1.48% mortality) and adults (5.6 ± 1.12 to 51.7 ± 1.51% mortality) at 12 d post-treatment. From a screening bioassay, five M. anisopliae (WG-08, WG-09) and B. bassiana (WG-23, WG-24, WG-25) isolates were tested for their concentration response mortality against larvae and adults after 7, 14 and 21 days (d) of treatment. Mortality was found positively correlated with concentration and time. At 21 d of treatment, WG-23 and WG-25 1 × 108 conidia/mL resulted in 100% mortality against larvae while only WG-25 1 × 109 conidia/mL caused 100% mortality of adults. Along with mortality, all the potential isolates have strong ovicidal effects that reduced 81.49% at 1 × 108 conidia/mL. The horizontal transmission bioassay indicated that the infected adults transmitted the disease to healthy individuals. Horizontal transmission of fungi from infected to non-infected adults not only caused significant mortality but also had a serious sublethal impact on insect development and fitness including reduced number of eggs/d fecundity, egg viability and neonate survival. Isolate WG-25 reduced oviposition (0.5 eggs/d), fecundity (11.7 eggs/female), egg viability (11.6%) along with larval survival 25.9% when infected male mated with normal female. In semi-field trials, all fungal isolates reduced survival of larvae found inside the palms and ultimately reduced infestations over a period of two months. The results of this study indicate that entomopathogenic fungi should be further tested for sustainable and efficient control of RPW in date palm production systems. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Pest Control in Agroecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 3035 KiB  
Article
Biocontrol Effect of Bacillus subtilis against Cnaphalocrocis medinalis (Guenèe) (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae): A Sustainable Approach to Rice Pest Management
by Muthusamy Janaki, Pavana K. Sivadasan Unni, Vethamonickam Stanley-Raja, Sengottayan Senthil-Nathan, Bader O. Almutairi and Ahmed Abdel-Megeed
Agronomy 2024, 14(2), 310; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14020310 - 31 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1135
Abstract
Agricultural pests can be effectively controlled using microbes, providing an eco-friendly alternative to available synthetic pesticides. Suitable entomopathogenic bacterial strains were collected from agricultural fields and evaluated for their insecticidal potential against Cnaphalocrocis medinalis. In the four tested entomopathogenic bacteria (W1, Yc1, [...] Read more.
Agricultural pests can be effectively controlled using microbes, providing an eco-friendly alternative to available synthetic pesticides. Suitable entomopathogenic bacterial strains were collected from agricultural fields and evaluated for their insecticidal potential against Cnaphalocrocis medinalis. In the four tested entomopathogenic bacteria (W1, Yc1, S1, EB01), the larval mortality ranged from 38 to 74%. Among these isolates, Bacillus subtilis (EB01) induced the highest mortality (74%). In greenhouse conditions, the tests confirm that the results were dosage-dependent: B. subtilis infection considerably delayed the overall development period, reduced pupal conversion, and decreased adult emergence with induced morphological deformities. Larvae fed B. subtilis-treated leaves initiate bacterial infection and broadly damage the midgut tissue, including the epithelial and peritrophic layers. The bacterial growth in the C. medinalis hemolymph considerably increases the activity of enzymes like α and β esterase (85.14 and 44% at 96 h) compared to the control. The isolate B. subtilis-treated diet significantly reduced the larval digestive α and β galactosidase enzyme activity (88.17 and 91.88% at 96 h). Furthermore, germination bioassay with strain EB01 in rice varieties (TN1 and ASD16) significantly increased both varieties’ germination and biomass index. This study shows that the B. subtilis EB01 strain potentially inhibited the biological activity of C. medinalis and improved the rice seeds’ germination index. It can be a potential biocontrol agent in sustainable pest-management strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Pest Control in Agroecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 1970 KiB  
Article
Biological Characteristics and Thermal Requirements of Telenomus podisi and Trissolcus basalis (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) in Fresh and Cryopreserved Eggs of Euschistus heros and Nezara viridula (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae)
by Regiane Cristina de Oliveira, Pedro Hiroshi Passos Ikuno, Dirceu Pratissoli, José Romário de Carvalho, William Wyatt Hoback and Bruno Alexis Zachrisson Salamina
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 170; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010170 - 12 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 867
Abstract
Brazil is one of the largest producers of pulses globally, and soybean ranks highly in terms of production. However, pests increase crop production costs and affect oilseed production and quality. Pests are primarily controlled by chemicals, leading to changes in insect pest populations. [...] Read more.
Brazil is one of the largest producers of pulses globally, and soybean ranks highly in terms of production. However, pests increase crop production costs and affect oilseed production and quality. Pests are primarily controlled by chemicals, leading to changes in insect pest populations. For example, secondary pests can become primary pests because of the selection of resistant insects and the elimination of natural enemies. Farmers have widely accepted biological control because of its high control efficacy and low environmental contamination risk. Two successful biological control programs in soybean used Telenomus podisi Ashmead (Hymenoptera: Platygastridae) to manage the Neotropical brown stink bug, Euschistus heros (Fabricius) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), and Trissolcus basalis (Wollaston, 1858) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) to manage the southern green stink bug, Nezara viridula (Linnaeus) (Hemiptera: Pentatomidae), when these pests were the most abundant in soybean-producing regions. To release parasitoids, rearing protocols must be developed in order to optimize production. This study evaluated the effect of temperature on the biological characteristics of T. podisi and T. basalis when fresh or frozen E. heros eggs were provided. Fifty fresh or previously frozen eggs were placed with parasitoids for 24 h in a climate chamber (25 ± 1 °C, 70 ± 10% RH, and 14-h photophase). At the end of this period, the eggs were transferred to other chambers and maintained at different temperatures (19, 22, 25, 28, 31, and 34 ± 1 °C, 70 ± 10% RH, with a 14-h photoperiod). The number of emerging adults from eggs parasitized by T. basalis was lower than that from eggs parasitized by T. podisi. Differences in T. basalis and T. podisi parasitism were observed depending on whether the E. heros eggs were frozen or fresh, but neither development nor emergence were affected. The duration of egg–adult development and the longevity of the two parasitoids were inversely proportional to the temperature increase. The sex ratio of T. basalis and T. podisi progeny was not affected by different temperatures or by the use of frozen or fresh eggs. The estimated number of both parasitoids’ generations corresponded with temperature, reaching 14–15 generations/cycle of soybean for Rio Verde, GO, and 12–14 generations/cycle for Barreiras, BA. Given these characteristics, we conclude that a biological control program using T. podisi can benefit large areas of soybean production by controlling the eggs of phytophagous bugs in soybean crops. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Pest Control in Agroecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

11 pages, 1469 KiB  
Article
Individual and Combined Effects of Predatory Bug Engytatus nicotianae and Trichoderma atroviride in Suppressing the Tomato Potato Psyllid Bactericera cockerelli in Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes
by Emiliano R. Veronesi, Sarah M. Cairns, Hossein Alizadeh, John Hampton, Robbie Maris, William Godsoe, Stephen L. Goldson and Andrea Clavijo McCormick
Agronomy 2023, 13(12), 3019; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13123019 - 8 Dec 2023
Viewed by 857
Abstract
The tomato potato psyllid (TPP) Bactericera cockerelli is a serious pest of the Solanaceae family. The management of this pest using synthetic pesticides is problematic because of the development of pesticide resistance and environmental concerns including impacts on non-target organisms. The predatory bug [...] Read more.
The tomato potato psyllid (TPP) Bactericera cockerelli is a serious pest of the Solanaceae family. The management of this pest using synthetic pesticides is problematic because of the development of pesticide resistance and environmental concerns including impacts on non-target organisms. The predatory bug Engytatus nicotianae has recently been identified as a useful biocontrol agent for TPP in greenhouses. The soil fungus Trichoderma Pers. is commonly used as a plant growth enhancer and biocontrol agent against phytopathogenic fungi. Therefore, there could be advantages associated with the combined use of these biocontrol agents. Some reports in other systems suggest that Trichoderma inoculation may alter the behaviour of pests and their natural enemies by modifying plant defence metabolites such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs). For this reason, this study aimed to investigate the individual and combined efficacy of these biocontrol agents (i.e., Trichoderma atroviride and E. nicotianae) against TPP in greenhouse grown tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum cv. Merlice). To this end, we compared the effect of each biocontrol agent and their combination on TPP abundance across different developmental stages (egg, nymphs, adults) and the number of infested leaves. We also investigated plant VOC emissions under the different treatments. Across all measured TPP stages, the treatments tested (E. nicotianae alone, T. atrovirdae alone, and T. atrovirdae + E. nicotianae) significantly reduced mean TPP counts relative to the control, and no significant differences were observed in VOC emissions among treatments. Overall, T. atrovirdae alone was less effective than E. nicotianae alone and its combination with T. atrovirdae in suppressing TPP populations. However, the combined use of Trichoderma + E. nicotianae did not show significant advantages over the use of E. nicotianae alone in controlling TPP. Therefore, their combined use needs to be further assessed in light of other advantages of Trichoderma to the crop (e.g., growth promotion or pathogen defence). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Pest Control in Agroecosystems)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Other

Jump to: Research

9 pages, 224 KiB  
Perspective
Benefiting from Complexity: Exploring Enhanced Biological Control Effectiveness via the Simultaneous Use of Various Methods for Combating Pest Pressure in Agriculture
by Miha Curk and Stanislav Trdan
Agronomy 2024, 14(1), 199; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy14010199 - 16 Jan 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 828
Abstract
Biological control, a well-established plant protection method, has garnered substantial attention in recent decades. Various approaches, including biological control agents (BCA), catch crops, biofumigation, sticky traps, and pheromones, have been extensively explored. While the effectiveness of these methods varies depending on specific circumstances, [...] Read more.
Biological control, a well-established plant protection method, has garnered substantial attention in recent decades. Various approaches, including biological control agents (BCA), catch crops, biofumigation, sticky traps, and pheromones, have been extensively explored. While the effectiveness of these methods varies depending on specific circumstances, their collective significance has grown amid mounting pressures to curtail or eliminate conventional synthetic plant protection products. Previous review articles have highlighted the benefits of using two or more BCAs simultaneously, yet limited information exists regarding the concurrent use of diverse biological control methods. This comprehensive review incorporates a thorough literature search to assess the benefit of concurrently employing two or more of these methods, followed by a discussion on perspectives of holistic management and mimicking complex natural systems, shedding light on the vast potential and need for further research in this domain. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Pest Control in Agroecosystems)
13 pages, 288 KiB  
Perspective
Natural-Enemy-Based Biocontrol of Tobacco Arthropod Pests in China
by Wenxin Xue, Pengjun Xu, Xiufang Wang, Guangwei Ren and Xinwei Wang
Agronomy 2023, 13(8), 1972; https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy13081972 - 26 Jul 2023
Viewed by 895
Abstract
The devastating impact of chemical pesticides has prompted a shift towards sustainable agricultural pest management, such as biological control with natural enemies. In recent years, commercialization advancements have enabled the suppression of pest populations through augmentative releases of biological control agents, with natural [...] Read more.
The devastating impact of chemical pesticides has prompted a shift towards sustainable agricultural pest management, such as biological control with natural enemies. In recent years, commercialization advancements have enabled the suppression of pest populations through augmentative releases of biological control agents, with natural enemies being a major tactic. China has successfully implemented natural-enemy-based biocontrol strategies, particularly for controlling aphids and lepidopterans. This article provides a comprehensive overview of the state-of-the-art natural-enemy-based biocontrol against arthropod pests in tobacco in China, including practical achievements in mass-rearing methods, augmentative release strategies, and the wide-scale use of natural enemies. Current and potential future challenges for natural-enemy-based biocontrol in China are also discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biological Pest Control in Agroecosystems)
Back to TopTop