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Environmental Tolerance of Entomopathogenic Fungi: A New Strain of Cordyceps javanica Isolated from a Whitefly Epizootic Versus Commercial Fungal Strains

Shaohui Wu, Michael D. Toews, Camila Oliveira-Hofman, Robert W. Behle, Alvin M. Simmons, David I. Shapiro-Ilan
Insects 2020 v.11 no.10 pp. -
Aleyrodidae, Beauveria bassiana, Cordyceps, Galleria mellonella, Metarhizium brunneum, biological control agents, biological insect control, conidia, entomopathogenic fungi, environmental factors, heat tolerance, radiation resistance, spore germination, temperature, ultraviolet radiation, viability, virulence, Georgia
A new strain of Cordyceps javanica (wf GA17) was observed causing widespread epizootics among whiteflies in Southern Georgia in 2017. The tolerance of conidia to environmental factors including variable temperature and ultraviolet (UV) light was compared between this strain and three commercial strains of entomopathogenic fungi (Metarhizium brunneum F52, Cordyceps fumosorosea Apopka97, and Beauveria bassiana GHA). Under 10–30 °C, C. javanica wf GA17 responded similarly to other fungi, with the highest virulence against Galleria mellonella at 25 °C, followed by 20, 30, and 15 °C; lowest virulence was observed at 10 °C. At 35 °C and 40 °C, C. javanica wf GA17 had lower tolerance than M. brunneum F52 and B. bassiana GHA, but was superior to C. fumosorosea Apopka97 in conidia viability and post-treatment virulence. After exposure to -20 °C for 56 d, C. javanica wf GA17 exhibited lower germination than M. brunneum F52 and lower virulence than M. brunneum F52 and B. bassiana GHA, but higher germination and virulence than C. fumosorosea Apopka97. Following exposure to strong UV light, viability and virulence of all fungi were reduced with increasing exposure periods. Increased environmental tolerance of C. javanica wf GA17 over C. fumosorosea Apopka97 suggests that the new strain could have applicability for commercial pest management.