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Advances in Metarhzium blastospores production and formulation and transcriptome study of metacyclic yeast growth

Grant number: 16/20610-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Doctorate
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2017
Effective date (End): March 04, 2020
Field of knowledge:Agronomical Sciences - Agronomy - Plant Health
Principal researcher:Italo Delalibera Júnior
Grantee:Natasha Sant Anna Iwanicki
Home Institution: Escola Superior de Agricultura Luiz de Queiroz (ESALQ). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Piracicaba , SP, Brazil
Associated scholarship(s):17/04870-0 - Analysis of transcriptome data from M. anisopliae and M. rileyi during yeast and filamentous growth (blastospores versus hyphae) in culture medium, BE.EP.DR


Brazil is one of the biggest consumer market of chemical pesticides in the world. In addition to the environmental problems caused by the indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides, this is a strategic issue for the country whereas the 280 active ingredients that are on market, although less than 30 of these are produced here. The biofactories in Brazil sell aerial conidia of insect pathogenic fungi produced by solid fermentation with cereal based substrate, especially rice. There is so far no commercial biopesticides based on fungal blastospores in Brazil. Blastospores are yeast-like hydrophilic cells, produced in the hemolymph of arthropods during infection, or in culture medium under appropriate conditions. Although the function of fungal blastospores in the fungi life cycle is the dispersion within the insect's body, these structures are highly infective through the cuticle for some species of fungi such as M. anisopliae. It is possible to produce large amounts of blastospores by liquid fermentation in a short time (<4 days), in small space and with low labor usage in relation to the solid fermentation method and with standardized quality similarly to commercial yeast production. The genes and potentially inducing factors of metacyclic yeast growth are not yet known and will be investigated in this project. The comparison of these genes with those expressed only during filamentous growth and also comparison to genes expressed in yeasts may result in the improvements for production system and add to find solution to minimize the stress of drying and storage of these fungi. Recently we found that blastospores produced in medium with high osmolarity (although they are smaller) are more virulent for pests than blastospores produced under low osmotic stress and also more virulent than aerial conidia. In this project, we propose to study production strategies and formulation of Metarhizium blastospores with bioactivity against the sugarcane spittlebug, Mahanarva fimbriolata, and against cattle tick, Riphicephalus microplus. Metarhizium anisopliae is the most used entomopathogenic fungus in the country, especially for M. fimbriolata control in sugarcane. In addition, the R. microplus causes economic damage of two billion dollars in Brazil and there are no biological control options for this tick. The cattle tick and the sugarcane splitlebug share the same habitat, the grasslands, and could be controlled simultaneously with M. anisopliae. Recently, four new species of Metarhzium were identified in Brazil and they were not described and characterized fully yet. Isolates of some of these species have great potential and their production in liquid medium and bioactivity against pests will also be investigated.

News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship:

Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
IWANICKI, NATASHA ST'ANNA; MASCARIN, GABRIEL MOURA; MORENO, SARA GIRO; EILENBERG, JORGEN; DELALIBERA JUNIOR, ITALO. Growth kinetic and nitrogen source optimization for liquid culture fermentation of Metarhizium robertsii blastospores and bioefficacy against the corn leafhopper Dalbulus maidis. WORLD JOURNAL OF MICROBIOLOGY & BIOTECHNOLOGY, v. 36, n. 5 APR 28 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
IWANICKI, NATASHA SANT'ANNA; FERREIRA, BRUNA DE OLIVEIRA; MASCARIN, GABRIEL MOURA; DELALIBERA JUNIOR, ITALO. Modified Adamek's medium renders high yields of Metarhizium robertsii blastospores that are desiccation tolerant and infective to cattle-tick larvae. FUNGAL BIOLOGY, v. 122, n. 9, p. 883-890, SEP 2018. Web of Science Citations: 0.

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