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Pathogenicity of Metarhizium rileyi (Farlow) Kepler, S.A. Rehner and Humber isolates against Spodoptera litura (Fabricius) and their extracellular enzymatic activities

Gurmehar Kaur Grewal, Neelam Joshi, Yadhu Suneja
Egyptian Journal of Biological Pest Control , Volume 31, pp 1-7; doi:10.1186/s41938-021-00407-4

Abstract: Background Spodoptera litura (Fab.) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) is a serious agricultural pest that infests many commercially important crops of Southeast Asian countries. Indiscriminate use of chemical pesticides has led to various health hazards as well as insecticide resistance. Entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) provide an important alternative as biological control agents. Metarhizium rileyi is an EPF with a specific host range for lepidopteran pests. The present study aimed to identify virulent M. rileyi isolate against S. litura larvae and analyse their extracellular cuticle-degrading enzyme activities. Results Three M. rileyi isolates viz M. rileyi NIPHM, M. rileyi MTCC 4254 and M. rileyi MTCC 10395 formulations were evaluated at different concentrations against 2nd instar larvae of S. litura. A maximum percent mortality of 63.33% was recorded in M. rileyi NIPHM (12 g/l), followed by M. rileyi MTCC 4254 (58.33%) at the same concentration, 10 days post-treatment. Maximum means of chitinase, protease and lipase activities (0.44, 1.58 and 2.95 U/ml, respectively) were recorded in the case of M. rileyi NIPHM. Correlation analysis was positive between enzyme activity and larval mortality. Conclusions Metarhizium rileyi NIPHM recorded the highest enzymatic activity and exhibited the maximum mortality rate against 2nd instar larvae of S. litura, suggesting the possible role of these enzymes in the pathogenicity of the fungus. Further knowledge in this regard may help in the development of enzyme-based screening methods for selecting virulent fungal isolates for the eco-friendly management of crop pests.
Keywords: Spodoptera litura / Entomopathogenic fungi / Chitinase / Metarhizium rileyi / Protease / Lipase / Mortality

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