The product uses a fungus that kills the psyllid without causing environmental damage
Fundecitrus announced the first bioinsecticide to control the psyllid, vector of the bacteria that causes citrus greening. It’s a product based on the fungus Isaria fumosorosea, which kills the insect. The research was conducted for seven years by Professor Italo Delalibera Jr of ESALQ-USP. “It’s a great achievement. It’s the first biological product based on Isaria fumosorosea in Brazil, and there are few of them in the world. It’s a tool with great potential that contributes a lot to the citrus industry”, the researcher analyzes.
When the psyllid sucks the sap of a sick tree to feed itself, it works as a transmitter of the disease-causing bacteria, propagating citrus greening in the groves. The fungus acts in direct contact with the target. After spraying, the fungus deposits a substance on the psyllid, which has a complex of enzymes that act to break down the protective structures of the insect, allowing the fungus to penetrate the body. Once inside the insect, the fungus continues its development process where it also releases enzymes and metabolites that lead the insect to death. Both nymphs and adults are susceptible.
The research is a partnership of the “Luís de Queiroz” School of Agriculture (ESALQ-USP), the Brazilian Citriculture Defense Fund (Fundecitrus), and Koppert, a biological control and natural pollination company.
The product is already registered with the Ministry of Agriculture under the trade name Challenger. As it is a biological product, it leaves no residues and doesn’t require a grace period because the active ingredient, the fungus Isaria fumosorosea doesn’t accumulate in leaves and fruits.