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Development of molecular markers for environmental monitoring of entomopathogenic fungi in citrus

Grant number: 12/21229-3
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): May 01, 2013
Effective date (End): February 28, 2015
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Plant Health
Principal Investigator:Italo Delalibera Júnior
Grantee:Celeste Paola D'Alessandro
Host Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil


Brazil is the largest producer of sweet oranges and orange juice, though the pests are one of the most important factors that result in great losses in yield of citrus. The entomopathogenic fungi are considered one of the most important natural enemies of pests to infect a large number of arthropods and keep the pest population in balance through epizooties in the field. The Pathology and Microbial Control of Insects Laboratory (ESALQ-USP) is working on the development of biopesticides based on entomopathogenic fungi Beauveria bassiana and Isaria fumosorosea for control of Diaphorina citri, the vector of greening. The aim of proposed research project is to develop molecular markers for isolates of B. bassiana and I. fumosorosea to monitor the effectiveness and persistence of these isolates in citrus plantations. The diversity and abundance of entomopathogenic fungi in citrus orchards will be characterized through sampling of soil and arthropods found on citrus and the weeds plants and will be developed molecular markers for detection and separation of isolates of B. bassiana and I. fumosorosea from citrus endemic isolates. The results of this study will indicate whether the predominant entomopathogenic fungi genotypes isolated from soil causing infections are also found in citrus pests and weeds in citrus groves act as reservoirs of susceptible hosts of entomopathogenic fungi prevalent in citrus pests. Thus, it is expected to improve the strategies used in integrated pest of citrus, emphasize in the case of Diaphorina citri to minimize the incidence of Greening. (AU)

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