Endophytic establishment of Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae in maize plants and its effect against Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) larvae.
The aim of the present study was to evaluate the artificial establishment of Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium anisopliae as endophytes in maize plants, and its effect in controlling the fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J. E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) larvae. The commercial strains B. bassiana Bb-18 and M. anisopliae Ma-30 were concentrated at 1 × 108 conidia ml-1, and the soil drench method was used to establish them as endophytes in maize plant parts. The biological control assays were conducted under laboratory conditions on second and fourth larval instars of S. frugiperda. B. bassiana colonized roots, stems, and leaves of maize tissues. However, a high occurrence of B. bassiana was obtained in roots than leaves and stems with 25, 10, and 5 isolations, respectively, whereas M. anisopliae was only acquired on roots. Both entomopathogenic fungi caused (100%) mortality on the second instar larvae. In addition, B. bassiana and M. anisopliae killed (87 and 75%) of the fourth larval instars, respectively. The fungus M. anisopliae caused the highest sporulation rates during the study. These results suggest that the entomopathogenic fungi might contribute to a sustainable S. frugiperda management in maize production in Cuba.