Differential insecticidal properties of Spodoptera frugiperda multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus isolates against corn-strain and rice-strain fall armyworm, and genomic analysis of three isolates.
The fall armyworm, Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a destructive crop pest native to North, Central, and South America that recently has spread to Africa and Asia. Isolates of Spodoptera frugiperda multiple nucleopolyhedrovirus (SfMNPV) have the potential to be developed as low-risk biopesticides for management of fall armyworm, and a commercially available formulation has been developed for control of fall armyworm in North and South America. In this study, the virulence (LC50 and LT50) of several SfMNPV isolates towards larvae of both corn-strain and rice-strain fall armyworm was assessed. Bioassays with corn-strain larvae revealed that the isolates could be organized into fast-killing (LT50 < 56 h post-infection) and slow-killing (LT50 > 68 h post-infection) groups. Rice-strain larvae exhibited narrower ranges of susceptibility to baculovirus infection and of survival times in bioassays with different isolates. Two SfMNPV isolates with rapid speeds of kill (SfMNPV-459 from Colombia and SfMNPV-1197 from Georgia, USA) along with an isolate that killed corn-strain at relatively low concentrations (SfMNPV-281 from Georgia) were selected for the complete determination of their genome sequences. The SfMNPV-1197 genome sequence shared high sequence identity with genomes of a Nicaraguan isolate, while SfMNPV-281 formed a separate clade with a USA and a Brazilian isolate in phylogenetic trees. The SfMNPV-459 sequence was more divergent with the lowest genome sequence identities in pairwise alignments with other sequenced SfMNPV genomes, and was not grouped reliably with either the 1197 clade or the 281 clade. SfMNPV-459 contained homologs of two ORFs that were unique to another Colombian isolate, but these isolates were not placed in the same clade in phylogenetic trees. This study identifies isolates with superior properties for control of fall armyworm and adds to our knowledge of the genetics of SfMNPV.