BioCeres Beneficial Fungi Kills Important Pests

By Patrick Cavanaugh, Farm News Director

California Ag Today recently interviewed Jay Sughroue, Ph.D. with BioSafe Systems about the new BioCeres WP Biological Pesticide.

BioCeres is new strain of the fungi Beauveria basiana discovered in Italy in 1815. There was a sharp decline in silkworm production and the entomologist back then, Antonio Basiana, discovered  the fungi  that was responsible for white muscarsdine disease causing the decline of silkworm production.

“The new strain, ANT-03, is different from commercially available strains is that it’s more aggressive and more resilient, so it lasts longer in the environment. And it’s more pathogenic when it comes in contact with insects that you want to control,” Sughroue said.

“Fast forward several decades, and now, we have commercially available products that are controlling very important agronomic pests, such as thrips, aphids and white flies,” Sughroue said.

Sughroue noted that it’s important to follow important application strategies.

“You want to apply this prior to high population development. It’s not a knockdown, so you want to be out there scouting fields. As soon as you start to see numbers that are indicative of causing damage, you want to start a spray program that contains BioCeres, and then after about 5 to 7 days, you’ll start to see the pests decline in population.”

The fungi spore germination is the key to the effectiveness.

“The spore lands onto an insect. It doesn’t matter if it’s an egg, a nymph, a larva or an adult. It starts to germinate, and through enzymatic activity and mechanical pressure, it grows inside the insect, and it will start to sporulate so the insects come down with a severe case of the flu. They stop feeding immediately.

Sughroue said while it takes about 3 to 5 days for the pest to die, it stops feeding very soon after the spore germinates inside them.

Sugroue said the list of the pests will only become larger as time goes by

“We’re going to expanding that list to include other important insects, but this is the first generation of this product,” he said.