Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Entomopathogenic fungus isolates for adult Tuta absoluta (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae) management and their compatibility with Tuta pheromone.

Abstract

Tomato, Solanum lycopersicum, is a widely consumed and economically important vegetable in the tropics. However, its production and productivity have been recently hampered by the invasive Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), a key pest of tomato causing extensive economic damage in Africa. Currently, the commonly used management strategy is synthetic insecticides with hazardous effects on humans and environment. The application of entomopathogenic fungal and viral-based biopesticides is promising alternatives. To identify potent strains, pathogenicity of dry conidia of 12 Metarhizium anisopliae isolates was evaluated against adult T. absoluta. Further effects of the most potent isolates on pupation through the late 4th instar larval infection, adult emergence and horizontal transmission of inoculum were assessed. Metarhizium anisopliae ICIPE 18, ICIPE 20 and ICIPE 665 outperformed the other isolates causing adult mortality of 95.0%, 87.5% and 86.25%, respectively. The three potent isolates differed significantly for LT50 values of 5.13, 3.17 and 2.38 days for ICIPE 18, ICIPE 20 and ICIPE 665, respectively. Pupation and adult emergence were significantly reduced by these potent isolates, which were also compatible with Tuta pheromone (TUA-Optima®) with ≥90% conidial germination 24 hr post-exposure. These potent isolates could be developed as effective biopesticides and used in combination with TUA-Optima® for mass trapping and autodissemination for T. absoluta management in solanaceous crop production systems.