Baculovirus Pesticides: Present State and Future Perspectives

  • Flavio Moscardi
  • Marlinda Lobo de Souza
  • Maria Elita Batista de Castro
  • Mauricio Lara Moscardi
  • Boguslaw Szewczyk
Chapter

Abstract

Baculoviruses pesticides are ideal tools in integrated pest management programs as they are usually highly specific to their host insects; thus, they do not affect other arthropods including pest predators and parasitoids. They are also safe to vertebrates and plants and to the biosphere. Over 50 baculovirus products have been used against different insect pests worldwide, and all have been produced in vivo, mostly on insects reared on artificial diets. However, there are cases of significant viral production in the field by applying a baculovirus against natural populations of the insect host and collecting dead or moribund larvae for further processing into a formulated product. Despite the considerable number of programs worldwide utilizing baculoviruses as biopesticides, their use is still low compared to another biological insecticide based on the bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis Berliner. As of the present, there are no programs using in vitro commercial production of baculovirus due to several technical limitations, and further developments in this area are much needed. Use of the baculovirus of the velvetbean caterpillar in Brazil has experienced a setback over the past 7 years due to modifications in cultural practices by soybean growers. Slow speed of kill by viral pesticides is a limitation that has led to considerable research effort toward developing faster killing agents through genetic modifications by either deleting or inserting toxin genes from scorpions and spiders into their genomes. However, these GMOs have not been used in practice due to significant resistance by the public to modified baculovirus genomes. Effective public extension services and farmer education toward application of biopesticides are much needed to expand the use of these products worldwide.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Flavio Moscardi
    • 1
  • Marlinda Lobo de Souza
  • Maria Elita Batista de Castro
  • Mauricio Lara Moscardi
  • Boguslaw Szewczyk
  1. 1.Department of AgronomyUniversidade Estadual de LondrinaLondrinaBrazil

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