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Genetic characterization, pathogenicity and benomyl susceptibility of Lecanicillium fungal isolates from Argentina

G. Manfrino, Romina, Schuster, Christina, Saar, Katharina, C. López Lastra, Claudia, Leclerque, Andreas
Journal of applied entomology 2019 v.143 no.3 pp. 204-213
Lecanicillium lecanii, Lecanicillium longisporum, Lecanicillium muscarium, Myzus persicae, benomyl, biological control agents, conidia, entomopathogenic fungi, fungicides, hosts, integrated pest management, internal transcribed spacers, introns, mitochondria, molecular systematics, mortality, new species, operon, pathogenicity, peaches, ribosomal RNA, Argentina
The aim of this study was to investigate biological and molecular characteristics of Lecanicillium strains isolated from Hemipteran hosts in Argentina. Morphology‐based taxonomic characterization together with molecular taxonomy based on rRNA operon internal transcribed spacer (ITS), mitochondrial nad1 gene, and nuclear ef1a gene sequences resulted in the assignment of nine out of ten isolates to the Lecanicillium lecanii sensu lato complex. However, whereas several isolates were thus unequivocally characterized as Lecanicillium muscarium or Lecanicillium longisporum, species assignment was not possible for three isolates that might represent a new species within the L. lecanii s.l. complex. We found two group‐I introns on 18S and 28S rRNA gene on only one isolate. Pathogenicity tests were conducted against the peach aphid using conidial suspensions (1 × 10⁷ conidia/ml), and the Kaplan–Meier analysis was performed to evaluate the survival of Myzus persicae. Lecanicillium longisporum CEP 155 and L. muscarium CEP 182 were significantly more pathogenic to M. persicae than all the Lecanicillium isolates causing aphid mortalities >85%. Determination of susceptibility to the benzimidazole fungicide benomyl revealed important differences between Lecanicillium strains. The inhibitory effect of benomyl appeared less pronounced for the L. muscarium fungal isolates than for those belonging to a different taxon. Based in our results, the best candidate strain as microbial biological control agent against M. persicae is L. muscarium CEP 182. However, further research under field conditions in greenhouses should be done in order to confirm the compatibility of entomopathogenic fungi and fungicides within an IPM strategy.