Characterization and virulence of Beauveria spp. recovered from emerald ash borer in southwestern Ontario, Canada

Shajahan Johny, George Kyei-Poku, Debbie Gauthier, Kees van Frankenhuyzen, Peter J Krell
Journal of Invertebrate Pathology 2012 September 15, 111 (1): 41-9
The emerald ash borer (EAB), Agrilus planipennis (Coleoptera: Buprestidae), is an invasive wood boring beetle that is decimating North America's ash trees (Fraxinus spp.). To find effective and safe indigenous biocontrol agents to manage EAB, we conducted a survey in 2008-2009 of entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) infecting EAB in five outbreak sites in southwestern Ontario, Canada. A total of 78 Beauveria spp. isolates were retrieved from dead and mycosed EAB cadavers residing in the phloem tissues of dead ash barks, larval frass extracted from feeding galleries under the bark of dead trees. Molecular characterization using sequences of the ITS, 5' end of EF1-α and intergenic Bloc region fragments revealed that Beauveria bassiana and Beauveria pseudobassiana were commonly associated with EAB in the sampled sites. Based on phylogenetic analysis inferred from ITS sequences, 17 of these isolates clustered with B. bassiana, which further grouped into three different sub-clades. However, the combined EF1-α and Bloc sequences detected five genotypes among the three sub-clades. The remaining 61 isolates clustered with B. pseudobassiana, which had identical ITS sequences but were further subdivided into two genotypes by variation in the EF1-α and Bloc regions. Initial virulence screening against EAB adults of 23 isolates representing the different clades yielded 8 that produced more than 90% mortality in a single concentration assay. These isolates differed in virulence based on LC(50) values estimated from multiple concentration bioassay and based on mean survival times at a conidia concentration of 2×10(6) conidia/ml. B. bassiana isolate L49-1AA was significantly more virulent and produced more conidia on EAB cadavers compared to the other indigenous isolates and the commercial strain B. bassiana GHA suggesting that L49-1AA may have potential as a microbiological control agent against EAB.

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