Dependence of the entomopathogenic fungus,Beauveria bassiana, on high humidity for infection ofRhodnius prolixus

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The impact of relative humidity (RH) on the infective potential of the isolate Bb INRA 297 of Beauveriabassiana (Bals.) Vuillemin (Deuteromycotina: Hyphomycetes) against first in star nymphs of Rhodnius prolixus Stål. (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) was determined. Fungus-treated insects were exposed to RHs ranged from 75 to 100% at 25 °C. Results clearly showed a threshold of humidity at ca. 96% for high and rapid mortality. After initial exposure to increasing periods of 97% (4, 8, 16, 24, 36 and 48 h) and subsequent transfer to constant lower RHs (43, 53,75 and 86%) at a constant 25 °C, an incubation of at least 48 h at 97% RH was necessary to kill all insects. On changing RHs of 97/75% and different regimes of temperature (15/28 °C,20/25 °C, 25/28 °C,and 25/35 °C), at least 72 h of initial exposure at 97% RH for the 15/28 °C regime, 48 h for the 20°/25°C and25/28 °C regimes and 36 h for25/35 °C were needed to kill all insects over a 6-day incubation time. Delayed exposure to favorable moisture condition (97% RH), significantly affected infection for up to a 3-day delay within the various temperature-humidity regimes tested.

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