Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology

, Volume 102, Issue 12, pp 4995–5004 | Cite as

Antioxidant enzymes and their contributions to biological control potential of fungal insect pathogens

  • Long-Bin Zhang
  • Ming-Guang Feng


Filamentous fungal insect pathogens represent a source of biological insecticides and acaricides formulated using intact cells, such as conidia or other spores. These mycoinsecticides infect arthropod pests through cuticular penetration. In field application, formulated fungal cells are exposed to environmental stresses, including solar UV irradiation, high temperature, and applied chemical herbicides and fungicides, as well as stress from host immune defenses. These stresses often result in accumulation of toxic reactive oxygen species (ROS), generating oxidative stress to the fungal cells and hence affecting the efficacy and persistency of fungi formulated for pest control. In response, fungi have evolved effective antioxidant mechanisms that include enzyme families that act as ROS scavengers, e.g., superoxide dismutases, catalases, peroxidases, thioredoxins /thioredoxin reductases, and glutaredoxins/glutathione reductases. Over two dozen antioxidant enzymes dispersed in different families have been characterized in Beauveria bassiana in recent years. This mini-review focuses on the progress detailed in the studies of these enzymes and provides an overview of their antioxidant activities and contributions to conidial thermotolerance, UV resistance and virulence. These activities are crucial for the biological control potential of mycoinsecticide formulation and have significantly advanced our understanding of how these organisms work. Several potent antioxidant genes have been exploited for successful genetic engineering of entomopathogenic fungi aimed at enhancing their potential against arthropod pests.


Entomopathogenic fungi Antioxidant machinery ROS decomposition Stress tolerance Virulence 


Funding information

This work was financially supported by the Ministry of Science and Technology of the People’s Republic of China (Grant No.: 2017YFD0201202) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.: 31772218).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Medicine and Biomedical SciencesHuaqiao UniversityQuanzhouChina
  2. 2.Institute of Microbiology, College of Life SciencesZhejiang UniversityHangzhouChina

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