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      Cuticular lipids and silverleaf whitefly stage affect conidial germination of Beauveria bassiana and Paecilomyces fumosoroseus.

      Journal of Invertebrate Pathology
      Animals, Ascomycota, drug effects, growth & development, pathogenicity, ultrastructure, Esters, chemistry, pharmacology, Hemiptera, parasitology, Host-Parasite Interactions, Lipids, Microscopy, Electron, Scanning, Pest Control, Biological, Spores, Fungal, Waxes

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          Beauveria bassiana and Paecilomyces fumosoroseus are generalist entomopathogenic fungi that infect the silverleaf whitefly (Bemisia argentifolii). We found second and third instar whiteflies to be the most susceptible larval stage to both fungi. Conidia of B. bassiana germinated most readily on the cuticle of second instars (54% germinated) and P. fumosoroseus germination was highest on third instar cuticle (45%). Fourth instars (the ultimate instar) had low susceptibility to these pathogens, and spore germination on the cuticle of fourth instars was very low for B. bassiana (7%) and intermediate for P. fumosoroseus (33%). Cuticular lipids were found to have toxic or inhibitory effects on conidia of B. bassiana and P. fumosoroseus when the spores were germinated on nutrient agar in the presence of the lipids. In the absence of added nutrients, P. fumosoroseus conidial germination increased in the presence of the lipids. To test if the inhibitory effects of the lipids were due solely to hydrophobicity (preventing water from coming into contact with the conidia) we tested the effects of synthetic long-chain wax esters. The synthetic wax esters inhibited germination of P. fumosoroseus to a degree that was similar to the effect of the cuticular lipid extracts, but the synthetic lipids did not have a significant effect on B. bassiana. Thus, the thick coating of long-chain wax esters produced by whitefly nymphs affect spore germination of fungal pathogens, but whether they play a significant role in defense against disease is not clear.

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