About this Research Topic
Consumer trends towards organic food free of chemical pesticides along with pesticide legislation and producer awareness of adverse ecological impacts of traditional production practices have bolstered demands for non-chemical pest control technologies. Entomopathogens that include insect-specific bacteria, fungi, microsporidia, nematodes, and viruses contribute to these alternative pest management strategies. While entomopathogens have been used in pest management for decades, the industry has seen a rapid increase in the number of ‘biologically-based insecticides’ developed as commercial products and sold globally. Currently an increasing range of entomopathogens are commercially available as biopesticides for application to both field grown crops and those grown in protected environments. Entomopathogens have the potential to reduce the reliance on chemical pesticides, improve pest management efficiency, help with insecticide resistance management, and promote sustainable agriculture. Advances in product efficacy and quality, mean that entomopathogens can be used alone or in combination or rotation with other control options. Modern formulations can often be applied with conventional application equipment used by growers. Recent research highlights both limitations and opportunities for entomopathogens in new pest management strategies. For example, combining entomopathogens with some pesticides can provide additive or synergistic pest control, while certain entomopathogenic fungi can suppress plant pathogens while promoting plant growth and health. This Research Topic will provide a comprehensive overview of the multi-faceted role of entomopathogens in sustainable food production. We invite related review articles or manuscripts based on original research.
Keywords: Organic food production, Pest control, Entomopathogens, Alternative pest management, Pest management, Biopesticides, Resistance management, Sustainable agriculture, Entomopathogenic fungi
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