Effects of Temperature, Humidity and Inoculation Method on Susceptibility of Schistocerca gregaria to Metarhizium flavoviride

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The effects of temperature on conidial germination and susceptibility of adults of the desert locust , Schistocerca gregaria, to four isolates of Metarhizium flavoviride were determined . In addition , the effects of inoculation method (topical or spray) , spore carrier (oil or water) and ambient relative humidity (RH) on susceptibility of the locust to the most thermotolerant isolate (Mf324) were investigated . There were differences among the isolates in the effects of temperature on germination of conidia after a 24 - h incubation period . Over 90% of conidia of all isolates germinated after 24 h at 30 o C . In contrast , at 40 o C , none of the isolates germinated for up to 72 h . However , there were differences in germination between the isolates at 35 o C . Locust mortality and disease progression were significantly affected by temperature . At both 25 and 30 o C , all isolates induced 98 - 100% mortality within 8 days; however , there were differences between isolates at 35 o C . None of the isolates caused significant mortality at 40 o C . Humidity and inoculation method had no influence on levels of mortaility in fungus treated locusts . In contrast , carrier type significantly affected cumulative mortality . Topical oil treatment resulted in higher overall mycosis than the three other treatments . Control mortality on the other hand was strongly affected by inoculation method and to a lesser extent by humidity and carrier . In these conditions , application of oil by spray was generally toxic at all humidities whereas topical application of water was most toxic at near saturation . The results of these laboratory studies demonstrate the importance of strain selection , formulation and application method in the development of a microbial control agent against the desert locust . Low RH should not impede use of this fungus under dry conditions .
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