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Biocontrol for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Agriculture".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2023) | Viewed by 11848

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor

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Guest Editor
Institute of Zoology, Faculty of Biology, University of Belgrade, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia
Interests: parasitoid taxonomy; diversity; ecology; biological control
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The use of a wide variety of natural enemies to biologically control pests in plant production is a common practice around the world. Numerous biocontrol agents (e.g., bacteria, viruses, fungi, nematodes, parasitoids, and predators) contribute to sustainable and permanent pest control, alone or in combination with chemical or physical treatments in the framework of Integrated Pest Management (IPM). The rapidly growing availability of these agents on the market along with new production technologies provide hope for the establishment of sustainable and environmentally friendly crop protection methods, which should lead to a reduction in the amount of chemicals added to the food production process and should increase food safety. The use of biocontrol agents in sustainable production should also maintain an ecological balance in various agro-ecosystems by protecting these biodiverse organisms. With the current Special Issue “Biocontrol for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production”, we aim to promote high-quality research on the use of diverse beneficial organisms in crop protection and in food production. Therefore, we are pleased to invite researchers from around the world to contribute their original studies in our Special Issue. Before the review process, all proposed contributions will be internally evaluated by the editors.

Dr. Nickolas G. Kavallieratos
Prof. Dr. Željko Tomanović
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • biocontrol
  • sustainability
  • biological agents
  • pests
  • food safety

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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13 pages, 3177 KiB  
Article
Habitat Modification Alters Food Web Interactions with Focus on Biological Control of Aphids in Apple Orchards
by Ammar Alhmedi, Tim Belien and Dany Bylemans
Sustainability 2023, 15(7), 5978; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15075978 - 30 Mar 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1206
Abstract
To date, direct interactions between pests and natural enemies are often considered in biocontrol programs. Recently there has been an increase of evidence for the importance of third-party mediated indirect interactions in determining the population dynamics of insects. Predicting the strength of such [...] Read more.
To date, direct interactions between pests and natural enemies are often considered in biocontrol programs. Recently there has been an increase of evidence for the importance of third-party mediated indirect interactions in determining the population dynamics of insects. Predicting the strength of such interactions remains a central challenge in biocontrol assessments. Here, two field experiments were performed in two years to investigate to which extent Dysaphis plantaginea Passerini, Aphis pomi De Geer, and Myzus cerasi Fabricius might indirectly interact through shared natural enemies and ants. We first studied the population dynamics of target insects in isolated orchards of apples and cherries. Secondly, we investigated how the spatial coexistence of aphid-infested cherries can indirectly affect the population dynamics of apple aphids via natural enemies and ants. In the first experiment, nine parasitoid species were recorded on apple and cherry aphids, among them were three species in common. Six predatory families were found on cherry and apple aphids, while only one ant species, Lasius niger L., was found associating with these aphids. In the second experiment, temporal variation in the natural enemy-mediated apparent competition between M. cerasi and apple aphids was found. The cherry aphid is likely to be an important source of natural enemies that attack apple aphids early in the season. Significantly reduced numbers of ants associating with apple aphids in the intercropping habitat were found. Our results emphasize the importance of considering indirect interactions in the designing of pest management strategies. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production)
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13 pages, 302 KiB  
Article
Entomopathogenic Fungus and Enhanced Diatomaceous Earth: The Sustainable Lethal Combination against Tribolium castaneum
by Waqas Wakil, Nickolas G. Kavallieratos, Erifili P. Nika, Tahira Riasat, Muhammad Usman Ghazanfar, Khawaja G. Rasool, Mureed Husain and Abdulrahman S. Aldawood
Sustainability 2023, 15(5), 4403; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15054403 - 1 Mar 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1642
Abstract
This study determined the efficacy of the Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo-Crivelli) Vuillemin (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae) alone or combined with the diatomaceous earth DEA (a mixture of DE + abamectin) against adults and larvae of Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). DEA was evaluated at 50 ppm while [...] Read more.
This study determined the efficacy of the Beauveria bassiana (Balsamo-Crivelli) Vuillemin (Hypocreales: Cordycipitaceae) alone or combined with the diatomaceous earth DEA (a mixture of DE + abamectin) against adults and larvae of Tribolium castaneum (Herbst) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). DEA was evaluated at 50 ppm while the fungi at 1.6 × 105, 1.6 × 106, and 1.6 × 107 conidia/kg wheat). Mortalities were assessed after 7 or 14 days of exposure, while progeny reduction in adults after 30, 60, 90, or 120 days. The radial fungus growth was significantly affected by the dose of DEA. Mortalities were higher in the combined treatments compared to the application of DEA or B. bassiana alone for both larvae and adults. Larvae were more susceptible than adults in all treatments and exposure intervals. Insect survival and progeny production were recorded for four months. Significantly fewer progeny was noted on wheat treated with DEA + B. bassiana treatments compared with control. The maximum number of mycosed cadavers and the rate of sporulation were observed at the lowest dose of B. bassiana alone, followed by the higher doses gradually. These findings indicate that the DEA + B. bassiana combinations can efficiently control T. castaneum, providing long-term protection of wheat. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production)
10 pages, 1657 KiB  
Article
Sustainable Grain Protectants: Recruiting Entomopathogenic Nematodes against Stored-Product Coleopterans
by Nickolas G. Kavallieratos, Eirini Karanastasi, Erifili P. Nika, Anna Skourti, Maria C. Boukouvala and Ioanneta E. Sampazioti
Sustainability 2022, 14(23), 16038; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142316038 - 1 Dec 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1609
Abstract
Stored-product commodities are attacked by numerous insect species. The adulticidal effects of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) on grains remain uninvestigated. Thus, in the current study, seven doses of the EPNs Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Poinar (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae), Steinernema carpocapsae (Weiser) (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae), and Steinernema feltiae (Filipjev) [...] Read more.
Stored-product commodities are attacked by numerous insect species. The adulticidal effects of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) on grains remain uninvestigated. Thus, in the current study, seven doses of the EPNs Heterorhabditis bacteriophora Poinar (Rhabditida: Heterorhabditidae), Steinernema carpocapsae (Weiser) (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae), and Steinernema feltiae (Filipjev) (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae) were inoculated on wheat kernels against adults of Trogoderma granarium Everts (Coleoptera: Dermestidae), Tenebrio molitor L. (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae), and Alphitobius diaperinus (Panzer) (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae). Complete mortality (100.0%) of T. granarium was recorded after exposure for eight days to the highest dose of 50,000 Infective Juveniles/mL (IJs/mL) of all tested EPN species. At the same exposure interval, 62.2%, 85.6%, and 76.7% of T. molitor were killed by 50,000 IJs/mL of H. bacteriophora, S. carpocapsae, and S. feltiae, respectively. The highest mortality of A. diaperinus (11.1%) was documented eight days post-exposure to 50,000 IJs/mL of H. bacteriophora. In general, T. granarium was highly susceptible, followed by T. molitor and A. diaperinus. Concerning EPN species, S. carpocapsae exhibited the highest insecticidal capacity, followed by S. feltiae and H. bacteriophora. Trogoderma granarium and T. molitor can be sufficiently managed by the highest dose of 50,000 IJs/mL of all three EPNs and by S. carpocapsae, respectively. However, A. diaperinus was not affected by any EPNs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production)
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13 pages, 1830 KiB  
Article
Selective Isolation of Bioactive-Pigmented Bacteria from Saline Agricultural Soil and Assessment of Their Antimicrobial Potential against Plant Pathogens
by Samina Bashir, Muhammad Numan and Zabta Khan Shinwari
Sustainability 2022, 14(20), 13574; https://doi.org/10.3390/su142013574 - 20 Oct 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1530
Abstract
The high incidence of disease and pests and their resistance to chemical control agents pose serious threats to both the agriculture sector and the environment. The present study assessed the antagonistic potential of bioactive pigment-producing bacteria isolated from the saline agricultural fields of [...] Read more.
The high incidence of disease and pests and their resistance to chemical control agents pose serious threats to both the agriculture sector and the environment. The present study assessed the antagonistic potential of bioactive pigment-producing bacteria isolated from the saline agricultural fields of Gujrat, Pakistan, against plant pathogenic fungi and bacteria. The seeded agar overlay method was used to selectively isolate bioactive pigment-producing colonies. Isolates were identified as Nonomurae salmonae, Streptomyces chromofuscus, and Actinocorallia libanotica using 16S rRNA gene sequence analysis. All the isolates and their crude pigment extracts were screened to assess antifungal activity against five fungal phytopathogens, namely Fusarium oxysporum (F. oxysporum), Fusarium solani (F. solani), Aspergillus flavus (A. flavus), Aspergillus niger (A. niger), and Alternaria alternata (A. alternata), as well as two bacterial phytopathogens, namely Psuedomonas syringae (P. syringae) and Xanthomonas axonopodis (X. axonopodis). Of these, Streptomyces chromofuscus was found to be active against most of the fungal and bacterial phytopathogens tested, followed by Nonomurae salmonae. Actinocorallia libanotica showed little to no activity against the tested microbes. Nonomurae salmonae and Actinocorallia libanotica are rare actinomycetes and the current study is the first to assess their antimicrobial activity against plant pathogens, specifically, plant pathogenic bacteria, i.e., P. syringae and X. axonopodis. The isolation of these species suggests that the chances of the isolation of rare species of microbes, which can serve as promising new sources of bioactive compounds, can be increased by using enhanced techniques for isolation. The results of this preliminary study assessing the antagonistic effect of bioactive pigment-producing bacterial isolates against plant pathogens are encouraging, and suggest a detailed research on the modes of action, optimum working conditions, and active components involved in an antagonism of these bioactive pigment-producing bacteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production)
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17 pages, 1707 KiB  
Article
The Potential of a Novel Concept of an Integrated Bio and Chemical Formulate Based on an Entomopathogenic Bacteria, Bacillus thuringiensis, and a Chemical Insecticide to Control Tomato Leafminer, Tuta absoluta ‘(Meyrick)’ (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae)
by Tamer A. Mashtoly, Hossam S. El-Beltagi, Abdulrahman N. Almujam and Muteb N. Othman
Sustainability 2022, 14(17), 10582; https://doi.org/10.3390/su141710582 - 25 Aug 2022
Viewed by 1647
Abstract
Tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), poses severe threats to sustainable tomato production globally with a high capacity to develop resistance to pesticides. Recently, the management programs for this cosmopolitan pest have relied on combinations of chemical insecticides which exacerbate the problems [...] Read more.
Tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae), poses severe threats to sustainable tomato production globally with a high capacity to develop resistance to pesticides. Recently, the management programs for this cosmopolitan pest have relied on combinations of chemical insecticides which exacerbate the problems of cross-resistance and adverse environmental effects. A novel concept of integrated formulates through combining a chemical insecticide model of lambda-cyhalothrin with Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) products as the formulation core was explored and evaluated. The susceptibility of the second instar larvae of tomato leafminer to the original formulation of lambda-cyhalothrin, Dipel, XenTari, and Agree products was assessed and compared to the combined formulations. The positive and negative impacts of lambda-cyhalothrin on the viability and pathogenicity of Bt strains were tracked and documented. The physicochemical properties of the combined formulates were examined and compared to the international standards of pesticide formulations. The proposed integrated combined formulates of Dipel, XenTari, and Agree biopesticides with lambda-cyhalothrin showed an enhancing effect and had a higher potential than the originally manufactured formulations alone for about a 3.67–10.08-fold impact on larval mortality. Lambda-cyhalothrin had no significant adverse effect on either the viability of Bt strains or the physicochemical properties of combined co-formulates. Therefore, such integrated combined formulates would have the potential to be involved as an alternative or a complementary approach in pest management and pest resistance management tools for sustainable pest management. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production)
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Review

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26 pages, 2343 KiB  
Review
The Mitigation of Phytopathogens in Wheat under Current and Future Climate Change Scenarios: Next-Generation Microbial Inoculants
by Ixchel Campos-Avelar, Amelia C. Montoya-Martínez, Eber D. Villa-Rodríguez, Valeria Valenzuela-Ruiz, Marisol Ayala Zepeda, Fannie Isela Parra-Cota and Sergio de los Santos Villalobos
Sustainability 2023, 15(21), 15250; https://doi.org/10.3390/su152115250 - 25 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1288
Abstract
Wheat production worldwide faces numerous challenges linked to climate change, exponential population growth, nutrient depletion in agricultural soils, and the increasing threat of phytopathogen occurrence. The application of beneficial microorganisms is a promising strategy for crop management as it favorizes nutrient uptake, improves [...] Read more.
Wheat production worldwide faces numerous challenges linked to climate change, exponential population growth, nutrient depletion in agricultural soils, and the increasing threat of phytopathogen occurrence. The application of beneficial microorganisms is a promising strategy for crop management as it favorizes nutrient uptake, improves soil fertility, and increases plant resilience. Therefore, this approach facilitates the transition to more sustainable agricultural practices while reducing the dependence on agrochemicals. The valuable beneficial impacts of bioinoculant application include the enrichment of agricultural soils’ ecosystems by restoring microbial populations and interactions that have been lost through the years due to decades of intensive agricultural practices and the massive application of pesticides. Furthermore, beneficial microorganisms constitute a remarkable tool for combating biotic threats, specifically fungal pathogens, whose proliferation and emergence are predicted to increase due to global warming. To optimize their beneficial impact, bioinoculant development requires an extensive study of microbial interactions with plants and their surrounding ecosystem, to improve their composition, mode of action, and stability through application. The use of innovative tools, such as omic sciences, facilitates the elucidation of these mechanisms. Finally, bioprospection and bioformulation must be consciously executed to guarantee the application and persistence of adapted microorganisms and/or their bioactive molecules. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production)
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19 pages, 632 KiB  
Review
Stuck in the Caterpillars’ Web: A Half-Century of Biocontrol Research and Application on Gregarious Lepidopteran Pests in Europe
by Aleksandra Trajković and Vladimir Žikić
Sustainability 2023, 15(4), 2881; https://doi.org/10.3390/su15042881 - 5 Feb 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1904
Abstract
Unraveling multiple layers of collective behavior outside the well-known isopteran and hymenopteran societies was a tall order for the scientific community, especially in the case of gregarious juveniles in the order Lepidoptera. Often protected with a solid silk shelter, devoid of reproductive division [...] Read more.
Unraveling multiple layers of collective behavior outside the well-known isopteran and hymenopteran societies was a tall order for the scientific community, especially in the case of gregarious juveniles in the order Lepidoptera. Often protected with a solid silk shelter, devoid of reproductive division of labor or conventional forms of parental care, caterpillar aggregations have rarely been considered in terms of economic importance. Of over 60 European communal species, 24 can be associated with voracious feeding habits, and thus be irruptive or pestilential, depending on the extent and severity. This review retrieves 59 cases of biocontrol against Hyphantria cunea (Drury), Euproctis chrysorrhoea (L.), Malacosoma neustria (L.), Thaumetopoea pityocampa (Denis and Schiffermüller), T. processionea (L.) and Yponomeuta malinellus (Zeller) and classifies them in predefined research and application subcategories. The percentage-wise distribution of the utilized or explored biocontrol agents was projected at 35.59% in favor of parasitoids and predators. Falling between fundamental and applicative disciplines, biocontrol, especially in its early days, built a global reputation of being underreported. To provide guidance for future research regarding the group, the functional trait-based concept used in this study is complemented with preliminary outcome assessment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biocontrol for Sustainable Crop and Livestock Production)
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