One of Koppert’s most reliable bioinsecticides, Mycotal, which targets whitefly, has been found to have a greater potential than previously thought. Recent research has shown that it has an extended effect on aphids. Aphids are a stubborn problem for growers and one of the most serious pest groups in agriculture worldwide.
Mycotal, which is an entomopathogenic fungus (Lecanicillium muscarium Ve6), was described for the first time more than a century ago and has a worldwide distribution. Insect pests are infected when they come into contact with the sticky fungal spores which then grow and invade the body, consuming the internal organs and leading to their death. It is one of the oldest microbial products in Koppert’s portfolio. Originally it was mainly marketed as a solution for greenhouse application, but recently more emphasis has been put on exploring its use and registration extension for outdoor application and on other pests, like aphids and thrips.
Field trials in multiple countries around the world
Multiple trials have been conducted in the past to register Mycotal for whitefly control, showing very good results. Below a few examples of the effective control this product has on whitefly; reducing the survival of some of the most important species such as Bemisia tabaci and Trialeurodes vaporariorum. The co-adjuvant Addit helps to distribute the spores of Mycotal in the foliage to increase the efficacy of the application.
Aphid populations significantly reduced
Koppert’s Agronomical Development NL lead, Roxina Soler, explains that further research into the potential of Mycotal started with aphids, after growers persistently requested a solution which would target this complex pest group. ‘Our team kicked off their research by examining a number of existing possible solutions at Koppert. After a series of laboratory and greenhouse experiments, we concluded that Mycotal offered a very effective solution to target aphids as well as whiteflies,’ Soler adds. ‘While the agronomical team further validates these results, the Regulatory Affairs team is working on identifying the best strategy to lead us to an efficient market access for the use of Mycotal besides whiteflies.
The graph above illustrates the potential of Mycotal to control aphids; in this case Myzus persicae. This graph shows the number of aphids per plant over time, when sprayed at the beginning of the assay - time 0 - with only water (black=control) or with Mycotal (green=Mycotal). Plants are inoculated with 20 young aphids (nymphs) that grow and then reproduce on the plants treated with water, reaching about 200 individuals. They barely survive and do not reproduce when treated with Mycotal. This test has been repeated numerous times, with similar results, using this model aphid but also others; both in laboratory but also greenhouse conditions. Independent of the pest to target, Mycotal needs to be applied at the end of the day to provide the best conditions for efficacy i.e. limited UV and relatively high(er) humidity.
Registration for an increasing number of crops and countries
Till now, Mycotal has be used for the biological control of whitefly in cucumber, sweet pepper, tomato, bean, lettuce, gherkin, aubergine, courgette, onion, leek, strawberry, melon, ornamentals and arboricultural crops, and is currently registered in the Netherlands, France, Belgium, UK, Spain, Italy, Portugal, and Malaysia for certain crops. Other countries and crops are expected to join this list soon. The Regulatory Affairs team is currently working on the registration of Mycotal in other European countries; Canada, Costa Rica, Ecuador and Peru.
Thanks to the Regulatory Affairs team efforts last week, the Dutch Board for the Authorization of Plant Protection Products and Biocides (Ctgb) has authorized the label extension of Mycotal for the following crops: leafy vegetables, brassica vegetables, lettuce, beans without pods, radish, carrot, herbs and parsley.
In addition, the Mycotal claim for being effective against aphids and thrips has also been authorized for some crops. These new claims can now be carried on the label. Regulatory Affairs expects to extend the label in other countries in the coming years.