Characterisation of Metarhizium majus (Hypocreales : Clavicipitaceae) isolated from the Western Cape Province, South Africa

Mathulwe, Letodi L. ; Jacobs, Karin ; Malan, Antoinette P. ; Birkhofer, Klaus ; Addison, Matthew F. ; Addison, Pia (2021-03-19)

CITATION: Mathulwe, L. L., et al. 2021. Characterisation of Metarhizium majus (Hypocreales : Clavicipitaceae) isolated from the Western Cape Province, South Africa. PLoS ONE, 16(2):e0240955, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0240955.

The original publication is available at https://journals.plos.org/plosone/

Publication of this article was funded by the Stellenbosch University Open Access Fund

Article

Entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) are important soil-dwelling entomopathogens, which can be used as biological control agents against pest insects. EPF are capable of causing lethal epizootics in pest insect populations in agroecosystems. During a survey of the orchard soil at an organic farm, different EPF species were collected and identified to species level, using both morphological and molecular techniques. The EPF were trapped from soil samples taken from an apricot orchard. The traps, which were baited in the laboratory, used susceptible host insects, including the last-instar larvae of Galleria mellonella (wax moth larvae) and Tenebrio molitor (mealworm larvae). The potential pathogenicity of the local Metarhizium majus isolate was tested and verified using susceptible laboratory-reared last-instar T. molitor larvae. The identification of the M. majus isolated from South African soil was verified using both morphological and molecular techniques. The occurrence of M. majus in the South African soil environment had not previously been reported.

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