Wireworm damage reduction in potatoes with an attract-and-kill strategy using Metarhizium brunneum
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Innovative wireworm control strategies are required to implement integrated pest management on the basis of the (EC) No regulation 1107/2009 and Directive 2009/128/EC. Entomopathogenic fungi, such as Metarhizium brunneum (Metschnikoff) Sorokin, are potential biological control agents for wireworm control but do not achieve high control efficacies in the field when applied as a conidia suspension. In a 2-year study, wireworm control with a novel attract-and-kill strategy aimed at enhancing M. brunneum efficacies in organic potato production systems in Lower Saxony, Germany. The approach is based on the attraction of wireworms (Agriotes spp. Eschscholtz) towards an artificial carbon dioxide-emitting source, using baker’s yeast (Saccharomyces cerevisiae Meyen ex Hansen) in combination with M. brunneum conidia for wireworm infection. Both components were encapsulated in alginate as a carrier material and applied in a mixture with two types of beads (one for encapsulated yeast and one for M.brunneum conidia). An application of these beads within the potato rows during potato planting reduced wireworm tuber damage by 37–75% relative to the untreated control and was able to enhance the efficacy of M. brunneum by up to 35% through an attract-and-kill approach compared to beads without a carbon dioxide source only. This strategy offers a high potential to promote biological wireworm control as an alternative to insecticide use by potentially reducing the inoculum compared to an inundate M. brunneum conidia release strategy.
KeywordsWireworms Potato Encapsulation Metarhizium brunneum Carbon dioxide Attract-and-kill
These studies were funded by means of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union 282767 as a part of the project INBIOSOIL (http://inbiosoil.uni-goettingen.de). We would like to thank Bianca Tappe, Daniel Kretschmar and Marie Nörtemann for their technical assistance, numerous students, in particular Thies Fellenberg, for their contribution, and Dr. Christian Ahl (Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Germany) for conducting the soil analysis. Furthermore, we would like to thank Wilfried Dreyer (Ökoring AG, Visselhövede, Germany) for his professional support, Agroscope (Reckenholz, Switzerland) for providing the strain ART2825 and all farmers for providing field sites. Finally, we would like to thank Todd Kabaluk (Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada) for commenting on a draft of the manuscript.
Work on these studies was funded by means of the 7th Framework Programme of the European Union 282767 as a part of the project INBIOSOIL (http://inbiosoil.uni-goettingen.de).
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare no conflict of interest.
This article does not contain any studies with human participants or vertebrate animals performed by any of the authors.
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