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Field evaluation of the use of select entomopathogenic fungal isolates as microbial control agents of the soil dwelling stages of a key South African citrus pest

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dc.contributor.advisor Dames, JF
dc.contributor.advisor Moore, S
dc.contributor.author Coobes, Candice Anne
dc.date.accessioned 2017-09-13T07:03:05Z
dc.date.available 2017-09-13T07:03:05Z
dc.date.issued 2016-03-31
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11892/182375
dc.description.abstract The control of false codling moth (FCM), Thaumatotibia leucotreta (Meyrick, 1912) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae), in citrus orchards is strongly reliant on the use of integrated pest management as key export markets impose stringent chemical restrictions on exported fruit and have a strict no entry policy towards this phytosanitary pest. Most current, registered control methods target the above-ground life stages of FCM, not the soil-dwelling life stages. As such, entomopathogenic fungi which are ubiquitous, percutaneously infective soil-borne microbes that have been used successfully as control agents worldwide, present ideal candidates as additional control agents. Following an initial identification of 62 fungal entomopathogens isolated from soil collected from citrus orchards in the Eastern Cape Province, South Africa, further laboratory research has highlighted three isolates as having the greatest control potential against FCM subterranean life stages: Metarhizium anisopliae G 11 3 L6 (Ma1), M. anisopliae FCM Ar 23 B3 (Ma2) and Beauveria bassiana G Ar 17 B3 (Bb1). These isolates are capable of causing above 80% laboratory-induced mycosis of FCM fifth instars. Whether this level of efficacy was obtainable under sub-optimal and fluctuating field conditions was unknown. Thus, this thesis aimed to address the following issues with regards to the three most laboratory-virulent fungal isolates: field efficacy, field persistence, optimal application rate, application timing, environmental dependency, compatibility with fungicides and the use of different wetting agents to promote field efficacy. Following fungal application to one hectare treatment blocks in the field, FCM infestation within fruit was reduced by 28.3% to 81.7%. Isolate Bb1 performed best under moderate to high soil moisture whilst Ma2 was more effective under low soil moisture conditions. All isolates, with the exception of Ma2 at one site, were recorded in the soil five months post-application. None of the wetting agents tested were found to be highly toxic to fungal germination and similar physical suspension characteristics were observed. Fungicide toxicity varied amongst isolates and test conditions. However, only Dithane (a.i. mancozeb) was considered incompatible with isolate Ma2. The implication of these results and the way forward is discussed. This study is the first report of the field efficacy of three laboratory-virulent fungal isolates applied to the soil of conventional citrus orchards against FCM soil-dwelling life stages. As such, it provides a foundation on which future research can build to ensure the development and commercialisation of a cost-effective and consistently reliable product. en_ZA
dc.description.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10962/507 en_ZA
dc.language.iso en en_ZA
dc.publisher Rhodes University en_ZA
dc.title Field evaluation of the use of select entomopathogenic fungal isolates as microbial control agents of the soil dwelling stages of a key South African citrus pest en_ZA
dc.type Thesis en_ZA

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