Reduction of insect cold-hardiness using ice-nucleating active fungi and surfactants

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The supercooling point (SCP) of an insect model, the lady beetle Hippodamia convergens Guérin-Menéville (Coleoptera, Coccinellidae) was markedly elevated by treatment with aqueous suspensions of the filamentous, ice nucleation active (INA) fungi Fusarium avenaceum and slightly elevated by Fusarium acuminatum. Addition of the surfactant Tween 80 to the fungal suspensions further reduced the supercooling capacity of adult beetles. When used alone the surfactant Triton X-100 produced a greater SCP elevation than Tween 20 or Tween 80. The emulsifier gum arabic was ineffective in elevating beetle SCPs when applied alone and when added to INA fungal preparations it decreased their efficacy. Aqueous suspensions of both viable sporulating and viable pleomorphic (a permanent, degenerative, nonsporulating cultural state) forms of both fungal species were more effective in elevating the SCP than killed preparations except for the pleomorphic F. acuminatum suspension in which the killed form was slightly more active. Application of INA fungi applied in combination with surfactants may be useful in the development of methods for the biological control of overwintering freeze-susceptible insect pests by decreasing their capacity to avoid lethal freezing by supercooling.

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