News and Reviews

USFS Publication on Entomophaga maimaiga

"The Gypsy Moth Fungus Entomophthora maimaiga in North America" by R. C. Reardon and A. E. Hajek was published last June as a Forest Health Technology Enterprise Team publication (USDA-FS FHTET-97-11).

This 22 page handbook is an update of NA-TP-15-93, "Entomophaga maimaiga in North America: A Review" (September 1993) and includes new information on the biology, population dynamics, recently completed field and laboratory nontarget impact studies and use of E. maimaiga as a mycoinsecticide.

The first chapter provides a brief introduction to the gypsy moth and diseases that affect it. Then the seasonal cycles of E. maimaiga and how caterpillar larvae transmit the fungus' conidia are discussed, as well as how to recognize infected insects. The final chapters cover the geographical distribution of the fungus, what insects it infects, and its potential as a biological insecticide (including needed research before E. maimaiga can be developed for this use).

The color micrographs of various spore types are interesting, but unfortunately there aren't any pictures of infected caterpillars--something non-scientists could probably relate to better than microscopic conidia.

Although it contains a lot of technical information, it is still quite readable and will provide an excellent overview of the role of this fungus in the biological control of gypsy moth for the average person.

For copies of this publication contact Dr. Richard Reardon at (304) 285-1566 or Dr. Ann Hajek at (607) 254-4902.

New Biological Fungicide in Development

The German company PROPHYTA has developed a biological fungicide against the fungal pathogens Sclerotinia sclerotiorum and S. minor. This fungicide (trade name Contans WG) is based on the fungal antagonist Coniothyrium minitans, which destroys the pathogen's survival structures (black sclerotial bodies) within the soil. The product is registered in Germany and Switzerland for use against lettuce-drop, caused by S. sclerotiorum. U.S. registration is expected next year, with Technology Science Group, Inc. as the U.S. distributor. They are hoping to register the product for use against diseases caused by Sclerotinia on peanuts, dry beans, potatoes and lettuce.

For more information about Contans visit their internet site, or contact Amy Plato Roberts of Technology Science Group.

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