Beauveria bassiana Multifunction as an Endophyte: Growth Promotion and Biologic Control of Trialeurodes vaporariorum, (Westwood) (Hemiptera: Aleyrodidae) in Tomato

Insects. 2020 Sep 2;11(9):591. doi: 10.3390/insects11090591.


The tomato, Solanum lycopersicum L. is one of the most consumed vegetables in the world; nevertheless, it is affected by biotic and abiotic factors that reduce its productivity. The whitefly is globally considered as the main pest under protected crop conditions, where biologic control using endophytic fungi emerges as a sustainable alternative. We evaluated the indirect effects of five native endophytic strains of Beauveria bassiana on the reproduction of greenhouse whiteflies and the growth of tomatoes. The plant growth substrate was inoculated with five strains of this endophyte and the resulting plants were then exposed to whiteflies afterwards. The effect that endophytic strains had on phosphate solubilization, iron siderophore production, plant height, and plant biomass were evaluated. The evaluated endophytes reduced the number of eggs per cm2 on leaflets compared to the control and behaved similarly to the commercial synthetic insecticide. Leaflets inoculated with strains RGM-557, RGM-644 and RGM-731 showed fewer nymphs than the control and those treated with insecticide. RGM-557 and RGM-731 produced the greatest plant heights; RGM-731 obtained the greatest plant biomass. Our study provides evidence that native endophytic strains of B. bassiana have a biocontrol effect on whiteflies and could be used to promote tomato growth.

Keywords: Solanum lycopersicum; biocontrol; endophytes; entomopathogens; greenhouse whitefly.