Molecular monitoring and evaluation of the application of the insect-pathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana in southeast China.

Journal of applied microbiology

PubMedID: 15012826

Wang C, Fan M, Li Z, Butt TM. Molecular monitoring and evaluation of the application of the insect-pathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana in southeast China. J Appl Microbiol. 2004;96(4):861-70.
AIMS
To monitor the fate of inundatively applied strains of Beauveria bassiana against Masson's pine caterpillar, Dendrolimus punctatus, in Magushan Forest, southeast China, and evaluate the potential environmental risks of biocontrol introduction.

METHODS AND RESULTS
Filed samplings of mycosed cadavers were carried out continuously for more than one year after the inundative applications of two exotic B. bassiana strains. By employing four complementary molecular markers, the purified cultures from collections were characterized and the two released strains Bb17 and Bb13 were recovered with respective frequencies of 9.1 and 5.2%. The released strains were isolated from nontarget hosts. The genetic diversity of the population of B. bassiana in the trial plot changed dynamically over time and no single genotype strain dominated throughout the sampling period or at different seasons. The indigenous strains were observed to be predominant in the local environment. Co-infection and/or genetic recombination might occur between strains under natural conditions.

CONCLUSION
Field applications of the biocontrol agent B. bassiana appear to pose no major risk to the environment. There was no evidence of displacement of indigenous strains of B. bassiana.

SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY
The results indicate that the introduction of exotic B. bassiana strains can persist in local environment and infect nontarget insect hosts, highlighting the importance of safety assessment of the large-scale application of fungal biocontrol agents.