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Susceptibility of Phthorimaea operculella Zeller (Lepidoptera; Gelechiidae) to its granulovirus PoGV with larval age

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1 Granulovirus PoGV is a strong candidate to substitute for chemical insecticides in integrated pest management (IPM) of the potato tuber moth Phthorimaea operculella Zeller (Lepidoptera: Gelechiidae). Generally, susceptibility to baculoviruses decreases with increasing larval age. For effective field applications, knowledge of the age-related change in susceptibility is crucial.

2 The relative susceptibility of various instars of P. operculella larvae to PoGV was studied by leaf-disc bioassays in the laboratory at 26 °C incubation temperature. The LC50 increased from 4 × 106 granules/mL for neonate larvae to 1.2 × 107, 1.1 × 108, 4.4 × 108, and 4.2 × 109 granules/mL, signifying resistance ratios of 3, 29, 110, and 1051, for 5, 6, 7, and 9-day-old larvae, respectively.

3 The relationship between log-LC50 values and log-larval weight was significantly linear. A logistic function described significantly the relation between larval weights and physiological age measured in degree-days (DD  >  13.4 °C). Both functions allowed prediction of the activity ratio of PoGV for different larval ages by using temperature summation to express physiological age.

4 PoGV was found to be highly active against P. operculella larvae up to a physiological age of approximately 50 DD (>13.4 °C) (i.e. the first third of the total larval development time). Thereafter, the virus rapidly lost its activity against older larvae. Prospects for applying this knowledge in the field are discussed.

Keywords: Age-related suceptibility; baculovirus; biological control; insect pathogens; microbial control; potato tuber moth

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Institute of Biological Control, Federal Biological Research Center for Agriculture and Forestry (BBA), Heinrichstrasse 243, D-64287 Darmstadt, Germany

Publication date: 2007-11-01

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