Biocontrol of Plant Pests and Pathogens

A special issue of Agriculture (ISSN 2077-0472). This special issue belongs to the section "Crop Protection, Diseases, Pests and Weeds".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (10 May 2024) | Viewed by 11103

Special Issue Editors


E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Agriculture, University of Patras, Nea Ktiria, 30200 Mesolonghi, Greece
Interests: plant parasitic nematodes; entomopathogenic nematodes; plant virus-vector nematodes; plant-nematode interactions; insect-nematode interactions; biological control
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Wine, Vine & Beverage Sciences of the Univesity of West Attica, Aigaleo, 12243 Athens, Greece.
Interests: biological control of plant diseases; plant Vascular diseases; grapevine trunk diseases, plant-pathogen interactions, plant epigenetics

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Disease and pest management in many crops may be really challenging. As harvest time approaches, farmers have limited alternatives to chemical control in order to avoid chemical residues in the produce. At this point, especially, fruits with high sugar content, such as grapes, become more susceptible to post-harvest pests and diseases, e.g., fungi causing rot, adding an extra challenge in the puzzle of crop protection. Another problem that farmers need to overcome is the resistance that pests and pathogens develop in pesticides, along with the small number of chemical products that can be used legally in many countries. The attractive alternative strategy, in order to avoid chemical residues in fruits and vegetables, is biological control. In addition, when it comes to cankers and vascular diseases, things are getting even more intriguing as chemical control strategies are not always available or efficient and, often, the only available means is prevention. For example, grapevine trunk diseases are by far the most important problem for viticulture nowadays and yet there are no effective chemical control strategies, hence biological control may be an attractive alternative. Therefore, this Special Issue welcomes articles that address sound tools helping to reduce the use of synthetic chemical pesticides and promote sustainable agriculture in woody crops.

Dr. Eirini Karanastasi
Dr. Danai Gkizi
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Agriculture is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2600 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • biological control
  • plant diseases
  • plant pests
  • crop protection

Published Papers (8 papers)

Order results
Result details
Select all
Export citation of selected articles as:

Research

12 pages, 3620 KiB  
Communication
Compost-Derived Bacterial Communities Offer Promise as Biocontrol Agents against Meloidogyne javanica and Promote Plant Growth in Tomato
by Eirini Karanastasi, Vasileios Kotsantonis and Iakovos S. Pantelides
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 891; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060891 - 5 Jun 2024
Viewed by 435
Abstract
Meloidogyne nematodes, commonly known as root-knot nematodes, pose a considerable threat to crop yields, resulting in significant economic losses due to their intricate biology and limited control methods. In line with the European Union’s focus on promoting organic farming and soil health to [...] Read more.
Meloidogyne nematodes, commonly known as root-knot nematodes, pose a considerable threat to crop yields, resulting in significant economic losses due to their intricate biology and limited control methods. In line with the European Union’s focus on promoting organic farming and soil health to encourage sustainable agricultural practices, this study explores the efficacy of two characterized bacterial communities obtained from compost against M. javanica in tomato plants. Through pot experiments, it was demonstrated that both bacterial communities, namely SC1 and SC2, effectively suppressed nematode reproduction and root invasion, which was reflected by a reduction in the number of egg masses per root (by 63% and 28%, respectively) and a reduction in the total progeny population (by 68% and 28%, respectively), with various simultaneously enhanced growth parameters in tomatoes, i.e., aerial part fresh weight increased by 74% and 58%, aerial part dry weight increased by 90% and 55%, and plant height increased by 86% and 53%, respectively. These findings underscore the potential of compost bacterial communities as promising tools for organic or integrated pest management, thereby supporting sustainable agricultural practices and contributing to improved crop yields. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol of Plant Pests and Pathogens)
Show Figures

Figure 1

22 pages, 9316 KiB  
Article
Efficacy of Commercial Biocontrol Products for the Management of Verticillium and Fusarium Wilt in Greenhouse Tomatoes: Impact on Disease Severity, Fruit Yield, and Quality
by Maria-Dimitra Tsolakidou, Georgia Demetriou, Sotiria Panagiotou, Loukia Vassiliou, Vlasios Goulas and Iakovos Pantelides
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 882; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060882 - 1 Jun 2024
Viewed by 285
Abstract
Verticillium dahliae (Vd) and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici (Fol) are two major fungal pathogens that infect tomato plants, causing significant challenges in their control since both pathogens can persist in the soil for several years even in the [...] Read more.
Verticillium dahliae (Vd) and Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. lycopersici (Fol) are two major fungal pathogens that infect tomato plants, causing significant challenges in their control since both pathogens can persist in the soil for several years even in the absence of a host plant and no effective fungicides are available at present. This study investigated the efficacy of two biocontrol formulations, Clonotri (containing Trichoderma and Clonostachys microorganisms) and Strepse (comprising Streptomyces and Pseudomonas microorganisms), against Vd and Fol and their impact on tomato fruit quality and yield under greenhouse conditions. The pathogenicity experiment demonstrated that the Clonotri formulation, containing Trichoderma and Clonostachys spores, significantly reduced Fusarium wilt disease by 32% compared to the control group. However, in the Vd pathogenicity experiment, the formulations did not exhibit disease reduction, although treatment with Strepse, containing Streptomyces and Pseudomonas microorganisms, resulted in a preserved total fruit number when compared to uninfected plants. Analysis of fruit quality attributes revealed no significant differences among the various interventions. Furthermore, Fol infection in the first fruit set significantly increased fruit firmness, while Vd infection resulted in elevated levels of total soluble solids in fruits. These findings demonstrate that the evaluated biocontrol formulations provide a degree of protection against fungal wilt pathogens in tomato plants and can increase yield in greenhouse conditions while having minimal impact on overall fruit quality attributes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol of Plant Pests and Pathogens)
Show Figures

Figure 1

22 pages, 4162 KiB  
Article
Synergistic Insecticidal Effect of Photorhabdus luminescens and Bacillus thuringiensis against Fall Armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda)
by Ting-Yu Chang, Chienyan Hsieh and Li-Hsin Wu
Agriculture 2024, 14(6), 864; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture14060864 - 30 May 2024
Viewed by 287
Abstract
Combining microbial products with different mechanisms of action can produce synergistic insecticidal effects and slow down the development of resistance. This study evaluated the insecticidal activity of mixtures containing the commercial Photorhabdus luminescens (Pl) strain ATCC 29,999, the local isolate Pl 2103-UV, and [...] Read more.
Combining microbial products with different mechanisms of action can produce synergistic insecticidal effects and slow down the development of resistance. This study evaluated the insecticidal activity of mixtures containing the commercial Photorhabdus luminescens (Pl) strain ATCC 29,999, the local isolate Pl 2103-UV, and the commercial Bacillus thuringiensis subsp. kurstaki (Bt) ABTS-351 against Spodoptera frugiperda. As the proportion of Bt increased in the mixtures, insecticidal activity increased, with the synergistic ratios reaching 1.98 for ATCC 29,999 and 5.29 for 2103-UV at a1:5 Pl:Bt ratio, representing approximately twofold and fivefold reductions, respectively, in the Bt dosage required for mortality. Hemolymph analysis revealed the highest Pl bacterial loads in the 1:5 treatments within the S. frugiperda hemocoel. Histopathology also showed exacerbated midgut vacuolation in the 1:5 ATCC 29,999:Bt treatment. Whole-genome analysis showed that 2103-UV produced more porins, potentially contributing to its higher insecticidal activity. This study demonstrated that Bt assists the invasion of Pl into the hemocoel and enhances synergistic insecticidal efficiency. The findings provide a reference for integrating Pl with other microbial products to sustainably manage significant and severe lepidopteran pests. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol of Plant Pests and Pathogens)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

11 pages, 3607 KiB  
Article
Nematicidal Effects of Four Terpenes Differ among Entomopathogenic Nematode Species
by Vasileios Kotsinis, Alexandros Dritsoulas, Dionysios Ntinokas and Ioannis O. Giannakou
Agriculture 2023, 13(6), 1143; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13061143 - 29 May 2023
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1469
Abstract
Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) have been studied for more than half a century, and employed for insect pest management using augmentation, conservation, and classical biological control approaches. As obligate lethal parasitoids of insect larvae, EPN navigate a chemically complex soil environment and interact with [...] Read more.
Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) have been studied for more than half a century, and employed for insect pest management using augmentation, conservation, and classical biological control approaches. As obligate lethal parasitoids of insect larvae, EPN navigate a chemically complex soil environment and interact with their insect hosts, plants, and each other. EPN responses to various terpenes, such as herbivore-induced plant volatiles, have the potential to enhance EPN efficacy through their attraction. However, several of the terpenes are currently being formulated as biological fungicides, insecticides, and acaricides for above- or below-ground applications. We conducted laboratory experiments to investigate the possible nematicidal effect of four terpenes, carvacrol, geraniol, eugenol, and thymol, to two heterorhabditids and two steinernematid species. Each terpene showed nematicidal activity against at least two of the four EPN species, with carvacrol showing the strongest activity and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora the highest sensitivity. Despite the high sensitivity of both heterorhabditids and near-zero sensitivity of the steinernematids to thymol, carvacrol, and eugenol, an increasing effect was observed when steinermatid nematodes were exposed to geraniol, and a decreasing effect for heterorhabditids, with H. bacteriophora exhibiting higher mortality than H. indica. The virulence of the nematodes towards fourth instar Galleria mellonella was also tested after exposure to the median lethal doses of each terpene. No significant difference in virulence was observed between nematodes that were exposed or not exposed to sublethal doses. The experiments suggest that the tested terpenes have a strong effect on EPN viability, which should be considered when combining the two approaches in IPM. The terpenes did not have a universal effect on all nematode species, which merits further investigation, while virulence tests suggest that sublethal doses of these terpenes have no effect on the host-killing performance of EPNs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol of Plant Pests and Pathogens)
Show Figures

Figure 1

15 pages, 955 KiB  
Article
Surrounding Semi-Natural Vegetation as a Source of Aphidophagous Syrphids (Diptera, Syrphidae) for Aphid Control in Apple Orchards
by Elżbieta Wojciechowicz-Żytko and Edyta Wilk
Agriculture 2023, 13(5), 1040; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13051040 - 11 May 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1457
Abstract
The influence of different semi-natural surroundings adjacent to apple orchards on the occurrence of predatory syrphids and biological control of Aphis pomi Deg. and Dysaphis plantaginea Pass. was compared. Two methods of catching hoverflies were used: yellow traps to collect the adults and [...] Read more.
The influence of different semi-natural surroundings adjacent to apple orchards on the occurrence of predatory syrphids and biological control of Aphis pomi Deg. and Dysaphis plantaginea Pass. was compared. Two methods of catching hoverflies were used: yellow traps to collect the adults and hand picking to get the larvae from aphid colonies. A total of 1029 Syrphidae (26 species belonging to 14 genera) of subfamily Syrphinae were collected in Moericke traps from apple orchards and their boundaries. At all sites, a much greater number of hoverflies was collected in the surroundings (638 specimens) than in the orchards (391 specimens). In apple orchards, 134 syrphids belonging to 10 species were reared from A. pomi and D. plantaginea colonies. In both cases, the dominants were Episyrphus balteatus (Deg.) Eupeodes corollae (Fabr.), Syrphus vitripennis Meig. and S. scripta (L.), suggesting that hoverflies are attracted by plants flowering in semi-natural habitats in the vicinity of the orchard, and they then migrate to the orchard and reduce the aphid colonies. The results confirmed the positive influence of natural surroundings on the conservation of aphid predators. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol of Plant Pests and Pathogens)
Show Figures

Graphical abstract

13 pages, 2970 KiB  
Article
Behavioral Response of a Specialist Predator, Stethorus gilvifrons (Coccinellidae: Coleoptera), to Cope with Web Structures of Four Different Spider Mite Pest Species
by Jawwad Hassan Mirza, Muhammad Kamran and Fahad Jaber Alatawi
Agriculture 2023, 13(3), 582; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture13030582 - 27 Feb 2023
Viewed by 1452
Abstract
The present study aimed to evaluate the web coping and attack behavior of a specialist mite predator, Stethorus gilvifrons, against the webbing structures of different spider mite pest species: Oligonychus afrasiaticus, Tetranychus urticae, Eutetranychus orientalis and O. punicae. The females [...] Read more.
The present study aimed to evaluate the web coping and attack behavior of a specialist mite predator, Stethorus gilvifrons, against the webbing structures of different spider mite pest species: Oligonychus afrasiaticus, Tetranychus urticae, Eutetranychus orientalis and O. punicae. The females of each pest species, in three different treatments, were allowed to construct web structures in the experimental arenas. The predator exhibited three different attack behaviors which were associated with the webbing life types of pest species. Against the O. afrasiaticus web, the predator used its palps and mandibles. Against the T. urticae web, the predator also made use of its first pair of legs to widen the entry hole it made by cutting. Against the O. punicae web, the predator protruded its hypognathous mouthparts to feed on mite individuals by merely entering into the web. Behavioral responses were also found to be associated with webbing life types of pests. Against O. afrasiaticus and O. punicae, the predator spent much time in web penetration and searching behaviors, respectively. The density-dependent complexity of web structure may cause hindrance to the predator, and it is suggested that adults should be released when a pest colony is growing with low webbing complexity for efficient pest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol of Plant Pests and Pathogens)
Show Figures

Figure 1

12 pages, 794 KiB  
Article
Different Host Plants Distinctly Influence the Adaptability of Myzus persicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae)
by Wenbin Jiang, Qian Cheng, Changhao Lu, Wenlong Chen, Degang Zhao and Yingqin He
Agriculture 2022, 12(12), 2162; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12122162 - 15 Dec 2022
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1877
Abstract
Piercing–sucking insects are prominent phloem-feeding insect pests and understanding their feeding behavior and life characteristics plays a crucial role in studying insect host adaptability. The green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is one of the most prominent pests in tobacco-growing areas around [...] Read more.
Piercing–sucking insects are prominent phloem-feeding insect pests and understanding their feeding behavior and life characteristics plays a crucial role in studying insect host adaptability. The green peach aphid, Myzus persicae (Hemiptera: Aphididae), is one of the most prominent pests in tobacco-growing areas around the world. This study evaluated the adaptability of M. persicae to five host plants: tobacco, radish, Chinese cabbage, Brassica oleracea, and rape using the electropenetrography, age-stage, two-sex life table and population dynamics. The results demonstrated that the feeding behavior of M. persicae differed significantly according to the target hosts. M. persicae exhibited reduced pathway activities and increased phloem sap ingestion on radish, whereas the opposite was observed on Chinese cabbage. Additionally, the mechanical difficulties of M. persicae mouthparts in the probe pathway phase were significantly lower on tobacco and radish than on other host plants. Life table parameters indicated that for M. persicae reared on radish, preadult duration, longevity, and total preoviposition increased significantly and the fecundity was the highest. Furthermore, the net reproductive rate (R0) increased significantly. The population number of M. persicae on radish after 15 days was significantly higher than that on other hosts, except for tobacco. Although M. persicae can successfully survive on the five plants, our results demonstrated that radish is the optimal host. These results provide significant information for understanding the population dynamics of M. persicae and on different host crops integrated management strategy. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol of Plant Pests and Pathogens)
Show Figures

Figure 1

18 pages, 7264 KiB  
Article
Isolation, Identification, and Characterization of Endophytic Bacillus from Walnut (Juglans sigillata) Root and Its Biocontrol Effects on Walnut Anthracnose
by Xiaofei Feng, Rong Xu, Ning Zhao, Dongmei Wang, Mengren Cun and Bin Yang
Agriculture 2022, 12(12), 2102; https://doi.org/10.3390/agriculture12122102 - 8 Dec 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1899
Abstract
Anthracnose is a major disease of walnut, which seriously reduces the yield and quality of walnut in Yunnan province. Therefore, it is necessary to explore and find a biological control agent for the prevention and control of anthracnose disease. In this study, an [...] Read more.
Anthracnose is a major disease of walnut, which seriously reduces the yield and quality of walnut in Yunnan province. Therefore, it is necessary to explore and find a biological control agent for the prevention and control of anthracnose disease. In this study, an endophytic Bacillus WB1, with broad-spectrum antibacterial activity was isolated and screened from healthy walnut roots. The strain WB1 was identified as Bacillus siamensis WB1 based on morphological characteristics, physiological and biochemical tests, and 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. Bacillus siamensis WB1 produces siderophores and indole-3-acetic acid and solubilizes inorganic phosphate. The strain WB1 not only showed a significant inhibition effect on fourteen phytopathogens, but also showed obvious inhibition on the spore germination of Colletotrichum acutatum. Meanwhile, strain WB1 can code genes for the production of antifungal lipopeptides and generate extracellular hydrolytic enzymes (protease, β-1, 3-glucanase, cellulase, and amylase). In addition, WB1 activated the systemic resistance of the host plant by enhancing the activity of defense enzymes, including phenylalanine ammonia lyase (PAL), peroxidase (POD), and polyphenol oxidase (PPO). The results of greenhouse assays also revealed that B. siamensis WB1 can effectively reduce the occurrence and severity of walnut anthracnose disease. These results also indicated that B. siamensis WB1 is a potential biocontrol agent for walnut anthracnose. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol of Plant Pests and Pathogens)
Show Figures

Figure 1

Back to TopTop