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Stability, genetic transfer and ecology of fungi used as biocontrol agents

Objective

Actually there is no data on the risk assessment linked to the dispersal of fungi in the nature, though there are more perspectives to use such microorganisms.

Objectives are to estimate those risk with Beauveria and Fusarium strains used as pests or disease control agents.
In this research project on the use of fungi as biocontrol agents the following initial objectives were established;
genetic stability of heterologous DNA in Beauveria;
stability of homologous recombinants of Beauveria;
natural genetic transfer in Fusarium and Beauveria;
methodology for ecological studies.

Several major problems were encounted including:
the selection of the most informative and reproductible molecular technics to fungal strain characterization;
the karyotyping of Fusarium spp;
the adaptation of molecular technologies for soil microbiology;
the adaptation of molecular technologies to study fungal populations.

To date three major original achievements must be underlined:
discovery of new type of transposons in fungi;
isolation of stable interspecific hypervirulent diploids within Beauveria spp;
conception of molecular technics for fungal strain characterization.

The discovery of transposons and interspecfic parasexual phenomenum in fungal organisms under laboratory conditions underlines the necessity for research to estimate the risk assessment linked to the agronomic use of fungi under natural conditions. The project is continuing.
The programme is divided in 4 complementary parts:

Genetic stability of heterologous DNA will be estimated in Beauveria:
Influence of vector, insertion site;
Stability of transformants in different soils, microcosm or mass production process.

Stability of homologous recombinants obtained with nitrate reductase or ATP sulphurylase genes of B. bassiana 147.

Natural genetic transfer:
Influence of genetic distances between strains;
Parasexuality of Fusarium and Beauveria under natural conditions;
Transposition in Fusarium with transposons already isolated;
Research of transposon in Beauveria.

Methodology for soil ecology:
Methodology to track strains;
Ability of Fusarium strains to colonize soils.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts

Coordinator

INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA RECHERCHE AGRONOMIQUE
Address
Domaine De La Minière
78285 Guyancourt
France

Participants (4)

Università degli Studi di Torino
Italy
Address
Via Pietro Giuria 15
10126 Torino
Université Libre de Bruxelles
Belgium
Address
808,Route De Lennik
1070 Bruxelles
Université de Paris XI (Université Paris-Sud)
France
Address
15 Rue Georges Clémenceau
91405 Orsay
Zeneca Group plc
United Kingdom
Address
Fernhurst
GU27 3JE Haslemere