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Molecular Identification of Entomopathogenic Nematode Isolates from the Philippines and their Biological Control Potential Against Lepidopteran Pests of Corn


In search for local entomopathogenic nematode (EPN) species as a biological control agent of lepidopterous insect pests of corn, a survey for EPN in the major islands in the Philippines was conducted. Seven EPN populations from 279 soil samples were isolated using Ostrinia furnacalis, the key target insect pest of corn in the country, as bait. Analysis of the ITS1-5.8S-ITS2 ribosomal DNA sequence revealed the presence of Steinernema abbasi, Steinernema minutum, Steinernema tami, and Heterorhabditis indica. The pathogenicity of these EPN was tested in Ostrinia furnacalis, Spodoptera litura, and Helicoverpa armigera larvae under laboratory conditions. All the EPN isolates were pathogenic to the lepidopteran species with, H. indica PBCB and S. abbasi MBLB exhibiting the highest virulence (88%–99.33% and 90%–100% mortality, respectively) at 48 hr post infection (HPI) and thus, further studies were done on these two EPN. The highest penetration rate at 48 HPI was observed in H. armigera infected with S. abbasi MBLB (28.15%), while the lowest was in O. furnacalis infected with H. indica PBCB (14.25%). Nonetheless, based on LC50 at 48 HPI, H. indica PBCB was most virulent to S. litura (8.89 IJ per larva), but not significantly different from O. furnacalis (10.52 IJ per larva). Steinernema abbasi MBLB was most virulent to O. furnacalis (10.98 IJ per larva), but not significantly different to S. litura (17.08 IJ per larva). LT50 estimates showed that O. furnacalis was significantly the most susceptible to H. indica PBCB (21.90 hr) and S. abbasi (21.18 hr). Our results suggest that H. indica PBCB and S. abbasi MBLB are good candidates as biological control agents against these insect pests of corn. Moreover, O. furnacalis as alternative bait for EPN was discussed. To date, this is the most extensive research on Philippine EPN, comprised of wide sampling coverage, molecular identification and bioefficacy assays.

Calendario de la edición:
Volume Open
Temas de la revista:
Life Sciences, other