A collaboration between Brazilian and North American researchers resulted in a scientific discovery that promises to improve the cultivation of fungi with the potential to control insects considered pests in agriculture, according to information released by the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa). Microorganisms, known as entomopathogenic, could be more efficient in the production of biological products, such as mycopesticides, offering a more economical and sustainable alternative in controlling agricultural pests and diseases.
According to one of the study authors and analyst at Embrapa Meio Ambiente (SP) Gabriel Mascarin, the research identified that adjusting the osmotic pressure during the liquid cultivation of fungi, such as Beauveria bassiana, can be a crucial factor in increasing efficiency production of these microorganisms. This discovery has the potential to optimize the production of fungal-based biopesticides, surpassing traditional fungal products available on the Brazilian market.
The research focused on the impact of osmotic pressure during the liquid cultivation of Beauveria bassiana, a fungus capable of infecting more than a thousand species of arthropods. Mascarin explains that adjusting osmotic pressure can be a viable strategy to accelerate and increase the production of not only this fungus, but others with potential for pest control. This represents a significant advance in the production of innovative and affordable mycopesticides.
The study not only improved the production of Beauveria bassiana, but also increased the resistance of these cells to desiccation, enabling prolonged stability and effectiveness even in non-refrigerated storage conditions, as detailed in an international patent.
Blastospores, the preferred fungal cells, proved to be as lethal or more lethal than traditional spores, presenting the potential to infect insect pests more efficiently. This discovery suggests a new alternative active ingredient for future mycopesticides.
The research, published in the scientific journal Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology, highlights the importance of osmotic pressure and oxygen supply in altering the metabolism, growth and morphology of fungi. The manipulation of these factors opens up new possibilities for the production of blastospores with application in biopesticides and fungal biostimulants, representing a significant advance in sustainable agriculture and biological pest control. In addition to Mascarin, authors included Jeffrey Coleman (Auburn University, USA) and Nilce Kobori and Marcos Alan Jackson (USDA/ARS, USA).