Efficacy of Metarhizium anisopliae isolate MAX-2 from Shangri-la, China under desiccation stress

BMC Microbiol. 2014 Jan 3:14:4. doi: 10.1186/1471-2180-14-4.

Abstract

Background: Metarhizium anisopliae, a soil-borne entomopathogen found worldwide, is an interesting fungus for biological control. However, its efficacy in the fields is significantly affected by environmental conditions, particularly moisture. To overcome the weakness of Metarhizium and determine its isolates with antistress capacity, the efficacies of four M. anisopliae isolates, which were collected from arid regions of Yunnan Province in China during the dry season, were determined at different moisture levels, and the efficacy of the isolate MAX-2 from Shangri-la under desiccation stress was evaluated at low moisture level.

Results: M. anisopliae isolates MAX-2, MAC-6, MAL-1, and MAQ-28 showed gradient descent efficacies against sterile Tenebrio molitor larvae, and gradient descent capacities against desiccation with the decrease in moisture levels. The efficacy of MAX-2 showed no significant differences at 35% moisture level than those of the other isolates. However, significant differences were found at 8% to 30% moisture levels. The efficacies of all isolates decreased with the decrease in moisture levels. MAX-2 was relatively less affected by desiccation stress. Its efficacy was almost unaffected by the decrease at moisture levels > 25%, but slowly decreased at moisture levels < 25%. By contrast, the efficacies of other isolates rapidly decreased with the decrease in moisture levels. MAX-2 caused different infection characteristics on T. molitor larvae under desiccation stress and in wet microhabitat. Local black patches were found on the cuticles of the insects, and the cadavers dried without fungal growth under desiccation stress. However, dark black internodes and fungal growth were found after death of the insects in the wet microhabitat.

Conclusions: MAX-2 showed significantly higher efficacy and superior antistress capacity than the other isolates under desiccation stress. The infection of sterile T. molitor larvae at low moisture level constituted a valid laboratory bioassay system in evaluating M. anisopliae efficacy under desiccation stress.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • China
  • Desiccation*
  • Larva / microbiology
  • Larva / physiology
  • Metarhizium / growth & development*
  • Metarhizium / isolation & purification
  • Pest Control, Biological
  • Soil Microbiology
  • Survival Analysis
  • Tenebrio / microbiology*
  • Tenebrio / physiology*