Designing the ideal habitat for entomopathogen use in nursery production

Anne L. Nielsen, Edwin E. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Greenhouse and nursery producers use entomopathogens (nematodes and fungi) to control soil pests. Although it is known that the physical and chemical properties of mineral soil significantly impact upon soil pathogens, the influence of soilless media used for plant production on entomopathogen performance is poorly understood. Results: Survival and foraging distance were differently affected by sand:peat, bark and sawdust media for entomopathogenic nematodes, but not for the immobile fungus Metarhizium anisopliae. Redwood sawdust medium consistently had a negative impact upon entomopathogenic nematodes. Dividing media into individual components supported the hypothesis that redwood sawdust reduced foraging and infection abilities of S. riobrave and H. bacteriophora. Physically altering the components by adding sand significantly improved foraging and infection success for S. riobrave in media not optimum for foraging. Conclusion: This study is the first to highlight the importance of selecting the appropriate soilless media and pathogen species combinations to increase efficacy of biological control. H. bacteriophora was able to find hosts in a wider diversity of medium components than S. riobrave, although both nematode species performed well in peat moss and recycled plant material. These results suggest that peat moss, recycled plant material and hardwood bark are components amenable to EPN biological control programs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1053-1061
Number of pages9
JournalPest management science
Volume68
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2012
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Insect Science

Keywords

  • Below-ground pest
  • Biological control
  • Entomopathogenic nematode
  • Habitat manipulation
  • Metarhizium anisopliae
  • Potting soil
  • Soilless media

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