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D01.14 - Literature and project review to adapt bio-pesticides for control of WCR in Europe (WP1 Task 3.3)

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CABI04_D01.14_01JUN07_v01.00 by Emmanuel Muhr — last modified 18-06-2007 09:32
IMPORTANT NOTE : As a public deliverable this report has been also copied in the public part of the web site. ABSTRACT: The practice of managing the Western Corn Rootworm, Diabrotica v. virgifera (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) with bio-pesticides is absent from recent and current European research activities on biological control of Diabrotica v. virgifera. As European researchers and ecologists wish to approach a management strategy using environmentally friendly bio-pesticides, such possibilities are reviewed. The role of entomopathogenic fungi in Diabrotica population suppression is still largely unknown. Although there are numerous records of individual infections, these fungi do not seem to be providing significant natural suppression of D. v. virgifera in North America or Europe and thus, surveys for highly virulent fungi in the area of beetle’s origin are suggested. Comparing the virulence of isolates from the area of origin and from North America with locally adapted European isolates may help to find the most effective strain. The influence of management practices on indigenous fungus populations in maize agro-ecosystem is unknown and should be revised in order to enhance or conserve their populations. To date there is still a lack of protozoan and virus candidates for development as a microbial pesticide against diabroticites and thus, future surveys for pathogenic viruses and protozoa should be focused on the area of origin of Diabrotica. Transgenic maize that express the genes of B. thuringiensis toxins are the most prominent strategy for Diabrotica control in North America. However, there is still a need for screening soils in the area of beetle’s origin as well as in European regions for new indigenous Bt strains with specific activity against Diabrotica. The taxonomy of bacterial species associated with Diabrotica guts requires an update and newly developed molecular screening methods may help to discover additional species. Recently described Chromobacteria as well as Wolbachia may offer new directions for research in biological control of Diabrotica.
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