Biochemistry and Biotechnology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
Process Engineering, Biotechnology, Nutrition Technology
Despite the chronic and debilitative nature of the infection they cause, several species of microsporidia and neogregarines offer a good potential as microbial control agents, particularly against insect pests of high economic thresholds. Techniques for mass production of protozoa have usually involved per os, inoculation or injection of the protozoa into their usual or alternate hosts. The spores are harvested subsequently from heavily infected host tissues by grinding, filtration, and differential centrifugation. Although fresh spores are used in most field tests, the spores of many species can be stored with high survival either frozen or in water at low temperatures (0-4°C) for up to several months. Sunlight or ultraviolet (UV) radiation is a serious factor limiting spore persistence. However, the protozoa do not appear to be significantly limiting spore persistence. However, the protozoa do not appears to be significantly more susceptible to UV radiation than other insect pathogens and persistence can be prolonged with UV protectants. Most field tests with protozoa have involved the application of spores in sprays and have usually resulted in a high degree of infection in the target host species. The potential for control of few species has been improved by formulation of spores in to baits, and the potential of other species will likely increase if suitable bait formulation can be devised in the future. One species, Nosema locustae, formulated as a bait, has been successfully used to control grasshoppers on rangelands. Limited laboratory and field studies have also suggested that increased short-term control might be obtained if candidate protozoan species can be combined with certain insecticides. While recent and increased efforts have been devoted to assess the potential of protozoa as microbial control agents, potential hazards to nontarget organism have been investigated for only three species. Their close relation taxonomically to protozoa pathogenic for mammals will necessitate careful evaluation of the safety of candidate control species for nontarget organisms.
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