Zamorano and its contributions to sustainable agriculture through biological control of pests.
The Center for Biological Control in Central America (CCBCA) was created in 1989 by the Panamerican School of Agriculture with funds from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Honduras. The CCBCA focused on classical biological control and the augmentation and conservation of natural enemies. In 2000, the name was changed to Biological Control Laboratory and the focus was placed on learning by doing for students at the Panamerican School of Agriculture and on the production and commercialization of natural enemies of agricultural pests. The only parasitoid known to attack the bromeliad weevil (Metamasius quadrilineatus) was discovered through research by the CCBCA; the species was new to science and named Lixadmontia franki, and it was released in Florida in 2007 for biological control of the Mexican bromeliad weevil (Metamasius callizona). The parasitic organisms of the pests Plutella xylostella, Mocis latipes, Spodoptera frugiperda, Leptophobia aripa, and Liriomyza spp. were inventoried. Four species of exotic parasitic wasps, one baculovirus, one fungus, and three weevils were introduced into Honduras for classical biological control: Cotesia plutellae (Asian parasitoid of P. xylostella); Diadromus collaris (pupal parasitoid of P. xylostella); Telenomus remus (egg parasitoid of 30 species of Lepidoptera); a species of Eretmocerus (originally from India, for control of Bemisia tabaci); the weevils Neochetina bruchi and Neochetina eichhorniae and the fungus Cercospora piaropi (for control of the weed water hyacinth (Eichhornia crassipes)); and the weevil Neohydronomous affinis (biological control agent of the weed water lettuce (Pistia stratiotes)). In 2000, Zamorano changed its strategy of using biological control and began to venture into the commercial production of microorganisms for pest control, due to demand that was not being fulfilled. Biological control agents that have been produced are the antagonistic fungus Trichoderma harzianum (TrichozamTM) for combatting fungi in the soil, Beauveria bassiana (BazamTM) for controlling caterpillars and beetle larvae, Lecanicillium lecanii (VerzamTM) for the control of aphids and whiteflies, Metarhizium anisopliae (MetazamTM) for control of spittlebugs (Aeneolamia spp.) and beetle larvae in sugarcane, and Purpureocillium lilacinum (PazamTM) for nematode control. Moreover, the predatory bug Orius insidiosus for control of thrips, aphids, and whiteflies, the predatory mite Neoseiulus longispinosus for control of spider mites (Tetranychus spp.), and the entomophagous nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora for control of soil insects, especially Phyllophaga spp., Cosmopolitus sordidus, caterpillars, sweetpotato weevil (Cylas formicarius), and soil termites, have been reproduced and marketed. Possibly, the greatest contribution is in the teaching of the techniques and technologies of biological pest control throughout Latina America by means of the Zamorano graduates that studied and trained in Zamorano.