The use of filamentous entomopathogenic fungi in the biological control of insect pests is already well established, both through individual research projects and trials, and through the marketing of commercial products. This field of biological control in agriculture is very promising but the need is great for a strong coordinated EC effort.
Further exploitation of efficient Beauveria and Metarhizium strains requires an understanding of the extent of genotypic diversity within a population and the identification of isolate-specific markers which will be used in order to
- provide commercial organizations with a 'unique fingerprint' which identifies their isolate for patenting and registration purposes
- follow the release of these nonrecombinant biocontrol strains.
Several molecular analyses of entomopathogenic fungi have been developed independently by the participants; however specificity of patterns and probes, and so reliability of methods, must be checked on a large scale in terrns of strains and working laboratories. This can only be achieved by collaborations between the 5 different participants.
Strains chosen for their various geographical and biological origins will be examined in depth and grouped at subspecies level. When specificity of a probe will have been demonstrated, the results will be confirmed by using a large range of strains. The respective role of participants will depend on his expertise in the various proposed methods: PCRRFLP in rDNA, RAPDPCR, electrophoretic karyotyping, transposons, VCG, molecular variation in genes which play a role in pathogenesis. The main outcome of this concerted action project will be the objective assessment of Beauveria and Metarhizium fingerprinting methods. An integral part of the project is the requirement to coordinate the experimental procedures for comparative purposes.
Several meetings/workshops are planned, spread over a three year period and one visit of up to four weeks per participant to a relevant laboratory to ensure concertation of experimental procedures.
As facilities are not available from national sources to support this extensive three year collaborative multinational project, the objectives can only be met through concerted action funding.
The understanding of genetic diversity and genetic plasticity of economically exploited stable strains should be considered in order to increase the competitivity in European productions. Any measures which can be introduced to reduce quantity of any hazardous nature of pesticides will be beneficial to the whole community.
Funding SchemeCON - Coordination of research actions
TW20 9TY Egham
BA2 7AY Bath