Presentation Title

The biological control of Western Flower Thrips by endophytic fungi Beauveria bassiana

Presenter's Name(s)

Ali (Shervin) RazaviFollow

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to introduce a new biological control technique for the control of Western Flower Thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (WFT) (Thysanoptera Thripidae), an important agricultural insect pest worldwide. Marigold plants, Tagetes patula L., are highly attractive to WFT in greenhouses and hence were used as experimental plants in the current study. Entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana, known to be efficacious against WFT, was introduced into marigolds as an endophyte capable of entomopathogenic behavior. The primary goals of this project were to determine whether effective colonization of B. bassiana into marigolds is possible and whether marigold tissue colonized by endophytic B. bassiana is toxic to WFT. The results of this project could serve as a foundation for development of a biological control system that contains marigolds distributed systematically in a greenhouse as trap plants with endophytic B. bassiana. Our results showed that soil inoculation of B. bassiana is an effective method to inoculate marigolds leaves. We found that higher inoculation rate in the leaves of the treated plants with B. bassiana led to statistically significant higher WFT mortality rates in toxicity trials. Several optimizations have to be made to the inoculation process, including several drenching periods and increased concentration of the fungal spores for the method to be practically used in greenhouses.

Primary Faculty Mentor Name

Bruce L. Parker

Secondary Mentor NetID

adavari

Secondary Mentor Name

Agrin Davari

Status

Undergraduate

Student College

College of Arts and Sciences

Program/Major

Biology

Primary Research Category

Biological Sciences

Second College (optional)

College of Arts and Sciences

Second Program/Major

Mathematics

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The biological control of Western Flower Thrips by endophytic fungi Beauveria bassiana

The purpose of this study was to introduce a new biological control technique for the control of Western Flower Thrips, Frankliniella occidentalis (WFT) (Thysanoptera Thripidae), an important agricultural insect pest worldwide. Marigold plants, Tagetes patula L., are highly attractive to WFT in greenhouses and hence were used as experimental plants in the current study. Entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana, known to be efficacious against WFT, was introduced into marigolds as an endophyte capable of entomopathogenic behavior. The primary goals of this project were to determine whether effective colonization of B. bassiana into marigolds is possible and whether marigold tissue colonized by endophytic B. bassiana is toxic to WFT. The results of this project could serve as a foundation for development of a biological control system that contains marigolds distributed systematically in a greenhouse as trap plants with endophytic B. bassiana. Our results showed that soil inoculation of B. bassiana is an effective method to inoculate marigolds leaves. We found that higher inoculation rate in the leaves of the treated plants with B. bassiana led to statistically significant higher WFT mortality rates in toxicity trials. Several optimizations have to be made to the inoculation process, including several drenching periods and increased concentration of the fungal spores for the method to be practically used in greenhouses.