• Beauveria bassiana CEP147 reduce thrips population on bell pepper crops.
  • B. bassiana in combination with inter-rows cover is the most effective treatment.
  • Fruit quality increase when B. basssiana and inter-rows cover are applied to the crop.
The excessive use of chemical products to control thrips and the tomato spotted wilt virus (TSWV) is not only harmful to human health, the environment, and biodiversity, but also the resistance these generate in insects turns them inefficient in the long run. Consequently, to achieve sustainable and residue-free production, control alternatives must be explored. This work proposes the use of Beauveria bassiana (BB) in combination with inter-row cover (IC) to reduce the population of thrips and the incidence of TSWV on bell pepper. For this purpose, a trial was carried out in a bell pepper greenhouse, consisting of four randomly distributed treatments with four repetitions of 66 plants each. The treatments assayed were: T (without BB inoculation or IC), TC (without BB inoculation and with IC), B (inoculated with BB), and BC (inoculated with BB and IC). The B. bassiana CEP147 strain was used based on its effectiveness in previous laboratory tests. After detecting one thrips per flower, five foliar spray applications were made at weekly intervals. The trial lasted 4 months. Dur- ing this time, the number of thrips in the three central plants of each repetition, the pres- ence of symptoms compatible with TSWV, as well as the number of fruits, and their weight, length, width and health were monitored weekly. Between the fourth and sixth weeks after the last application, a significant reduction in the population of total thrips (nymphs + + adults) was observed in both treatments B and BC compared to T and TC. In addition, plants with symptoms compatible with TSWV were very scarce, and the fruits showed sig- nificant differences in their quality parameters, producing the longest and heaviest in the BC treatment. The results showed that combining biological and cultural control makes sustainable pepper production possible.
The authors wish to thank Dr. Arnaldo Maciá (División Entomología, Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, Buenos Aires, Ar- gentina) and Dr. Daniela Fuentes Rodriguéz (Labora- torio de Herbivoría y Control Biológico en Humedales, Centro de Ecología Aplicada del Litoral, Corrientes, Argentina) for their statistical analysis assistance, and Dr. Laura Bartel and Ing Marina Sisterna (Centro de Investigaciones de Fitopatología, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias y Forestales, Universidad Nacional de La Pla- ta, Buenos Aires, Argentina) for their critical review of the manuscript.
This work was supported by grants from Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET–PIP 11220130100533).
Natasza Borodynko-Filas
The authors have declared that no conflict of interests exist.
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