Entomopathogenic nematodes for biological control of the Colorado potato beetle, Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say) Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/f1881p92g

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  • The Colorado potato beetle (CPB), Leptinotarsa decemlineata (Say), is the most devastating foliage-feeding pest of potatoes in the United States. Potential biological control agents include the nematodes Heterorhabditis marelatus Liu & Berry and Steinernema riobrave Cabanillas, Poinar & Raulston, which provided nearly 100% CPB control in previous laboratory trials. In the present study, laboratory assays tested survival and infection by the two species under the soil temperatures CPB are exposed to, from 4-37°C. H. marelatus survived from 4-31°C, and S. riobrave from 4-37°C. Both species infected and developed in waxworm hosts from 13-31°C, but H. marelatus rarely infected hosts above 25°C, and S. riobrave rarely infected hosts below 19°C. H. marelatus infected an average of 5.8% of hosts from 13- 31°C, whereas S. riobrave infected 1.4%. Although H. marelatus could not survive at temperatures as high as S. riobrave. H. marelatus infected more hosts so is preferable for use in CPB control. Heterorhabditis marelatus rarely reproduced in CPB. Preliminary laboratory trials suggested the addition of nitrogen to CPB host plants improved nematode reproduction. Field studies testing nitrogen fertilizer effects on nematode reproduction in CPB indicated that increasing nitrogen from 226 kg/ha to 678 kg/ha produced 25% higher foliar levels of the alkaloids solanine and chaconine. However, the increased alkaloids did not affect nematode infection of, nor reproduction in, CPB prepupae. Nematodes applied to field plot soil at 50 infective juveniles/cm² reduced adult CPB by 50%, and increased numbers of dead prepupae in soil samples up to five times more than in non-nematode plots. Laboratory studies of H. marelatus and its symbiotic bacteria in CPB hemolymph indicated that immune responses did not limit nematode reproduction. A 58kD CPB hemolymph protein apparently caused the symbiotic bacteria to switch to the secondary form, which does not produce antibiotics and enzymes necessary for nematode growth and reproduction. Despite heat denaturation of the protein, the nematodes did not reproduce unless lipids were added to the hemolymph. Therefore, while H. marelatus may provide high levels of CPB control, nutritional constraints on the nematode and its bacteria inhibit reproduction in CPB and limit long-term multi-generation control.
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