Pathogenicity of Beauveria bassiana PfBb and Immune Responses of a Non-Target Host, Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae)

Exploring the pathogenicity of a new fungus strain to non-target host pests can provide essential information on a large scale for potential application in pest control. In this study, we tested the pathogenicity of Beauveria bassiana PfBb on the important agricultural pest Spodoptera frugiperda (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) by determining the relative activities of protective enzymes and detoxifying enzymes in different larval instars. Our results show that the B. bassiana PfBb strain could infect all six larval instars of S. frugiperda, and its virulence to S. frugiperda larvae gradually increased with an increase in spore concentration. Seven days after inoculation, the LC50 of B. bassiana PfBb was 7.7 × 105, 5.5 × 106, 2.2 × 107, 3.1 × 108, 9.6 × 108, and 2.5 × 1011 spores/mL for first to sixth instars of S. frugiperda, respectively, and the LC50 and LC90 of B. bassiana PfBb for each S. frugiperda instar decreased with infection time, indicating a significant dose effect. Furthermore, the virulence of B. bassiana PfBb to S. frugiperda larvae gradually decreased with an increase in larval instar. The activities of protective enzymes (i.e., catalase, peroxidase, and superoxide dismutase) and detoxifying enzymes (i.e., glutathione S-transferases, carboxylesterase, and cytochrome P450) in S. frugiperda larvae of the first three instars infected with B. bassiana PfBb changed significantly with infection time, but such variations were not obvious in the fifth and sixth instars. Additionally, after being infected with B. bassiana PfBb, the activities of protective enzymes and detoxification enzymes in S. frugiperda larvae usually lasted from 12 to 48 h, which was significantly longer than the control. These results indicate that the pathogenicity of B. bassiana PfBb on the non-target host S. frugiperda was significant but depended on the instar stage. Therefore, the findings of this study suggest that B. bassiana PfBb can be used as a bio-insecticide to control young larvae of S. frugiperda in an integrated pest management program.
Beauveria bassiana, Spodoptera frugiperda, enzyme activity, non-target host, virulence
Insects, 2022, 13 (10)