Background: Despite their known negative effects on ecosystems and human health, synthetic pesticides are still largely used to control crop insect pests. Actually, the biopesticide market for insect biocontrol mainly relies on the entomopathogenic bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). New biocontrol tools for crop protection might derive from fungi, in particular from Trichoderma spp., which are known producers of chitinases and other bioactive compounds able to negatively affect insect survival. Results: In this study, we first developed an environmentally sustainable production process for obtaining chitinases from Trichoderma asperellum ICC012. Then, we investigated the biological effects of this chitinase preparation - alone or in combination with a Bt-based product - when orally administered to two lepidopteran species. Our results demonstrate that T. asperellum efficiently produces a multi-enzymatic cocktail able to alter the chitin microfibril network of the insect peritrophic matrix, resulting in delayed development and larval death. The co-administration of T. asperellum chitinases and sublethal concentrations of Bt toxins increased larval mortality. This synergistic effect was likely due to the higher amount of Bt toxins that passed the damaged peritrophic matrix and reached the target receptors on the midgut cells of chitinase-treated insects. Conclusion: Our findings could contribute to the development of an integrated pest management technology based on fungal chitinases that increase the efficacy of Bt-based products and may mitigate the risk of Bt-resistance development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Production and characterization of Trichoderma asperellum chitinases and their use in synergy with Bacillus thuringiensis for lepidopteran control

Berini, Francesca;Montali, Aurora;Reguzzoni, Marcella;Marinelli, Flavia
;
Tettamanti, Gianluca
2024-01-01

Abstract

Background: Despite their known negative effects on ecosystems and human health, synthetic pesticides are still largely used to control crop insect pests. Actually, the biopesticide market for insect biocontrol mainly relies on the entomopathogenic bacterium Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt). New biocontrol tools for crop protection might derive from fungi, in particular from Trichoderma spp., which are known producers of chitinases and other bioactive compounds able to negatively affect insect survival. Results: In this study, we first developed an environmentally sustainable production process for obtaining chitinases from Trichoderma asperellum ICC012. Then, we investigated the biological effects of this chitinase preparation - alone or in combination with a Bt-based product - when orally administered to two lepidopteran species. Our results demonstrate that T. asperellum efficiently produces a multi-enzymatic cocktail able to alter the chitin microfibril network of the insect peritrophic matrix, resulting in delayed development and larval death. The co-administration of T. asperellum chitinases and sublethal concentrations of Bt toxins increased larval mortality. This synergistic effect was likely due to the higher amount of Bt toxins that passed the damaged peritrophic matrix and reached the target receptors on the midgut cells of chitinase-treated insects. Conclusion: Our findings could contribute to the development of an integrated pest management technology based on fungal chitinases that increase the efficacy of Bt-based products and may mitigate the risk of Bt-resistance development. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
2024
2024
biopesticides; fungal chitinases; insect biocontrol; insect midgut; peritrophic matrix
Berini, Francesca; Montali, Aurora; Liguori, Riccardo; Venturini, Giovanni; Bonelli, Marco; Shaltiel-Harpaz, Liora; Reguzzoni, Marcella; Siti, Moran; Marinelli, Flavia; Casartelli, Morena; Tettamanti, Gianluca
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11383/2168435
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