Pathogenic fungi affecting Eucalyptus nose beetles in Eucalyptus forests

About 20 million hectares of Eucalyptus forests worldwide are threatened by Conipterus platensis or Eucalyptus snout beetle, which can cause complete defoliation and significant tree volume losses. In the Iberian Peninsula, this beetle poses a significant risk. Although the Eucalyptus tree is important for paper pulp, current biological control methods are not fully effective, sometimes requiring chemical interventions.

Eucalyptus nose beetle significantly affects eucalyptus forest plantations worldwide. The usual control method involves the micro wasp anaphase spp., but this can be more cost-effective. To solve this problem, scientists looked to naturally occurring pathogenic fungi as an alternative solution to control the eucalyptus nose beetle.

In a new study, researchers have identified fungi that are natural enemies of the Eucalyptus nose beetle. It is noteworthy that these fungi were collected from infected beetles in their natural habitat in Colombia. This adaptation to local conditions makes these fungi promising candidates for beetle control in forest plantations.

To ensure that the recovered fungi were suitable for developing a bio-pesticide, the scientists carried out thorough characterization. They evaluated insecticidal activity, UV-B radiation tolerance and other factors. This characteristic process makes the fungi suitable for large-scale production and resistant to environmental conditions when used in forest plantations.

Among the fungi studied, Beauveria pseudobassiana and Metarhizium brunneum showed the highest virulence. B. pseudophasiana was well suited for bio-pesticide production and exhibited tolerance to the tested environmental conditions.

The identified fungi have the potential to produce bio-insecticides, pending in Eucalyptus forests. Researchers are seeking new funding for this critical phase. Once successful, these fungi can be applied to other areas facing significant damage from the eucalyptus snot beetle.

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Journal Note:

  1. MEJÍA, CINDY, GLORIA BARRERA, JOHN ALEXANDER PULGAREN DÍAZ, Carlos Espinel. 2024. Selection and evaluation of entomopathogenic fungi as bioinsecticides against the Eucalyptus snout beetle in Colombia: Conipterus platensis. Biological Control: 105407. DOI: 10.1016/j.biocontrol.2023.105407

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