Variability in tolerance to UV-B radiation among Beauveria spp. isolates
Solar radiation, particularly the UV-B component, negatively affects survival of entomopathogenic fungi in the field. In an effort to identify Beauveria spp. isolates with promise for use in biological control settings with high insolation, we examined 53 Beauveria bassiana isolates, 7 isolates of 4 other Beauveria spp. and Engyodontium albus (=Beauveria alba). The origins of these fungi varied widely as to host/substrate and country, but approximately 30% of these isolates were B. bassiana from ticks in Brazil. A preliminary trial with three B. bassiana isolates (Bb 19, CG 310 and CG 481) at several UV-B dosages indicated that 2 h of weighted UV-B irradiance at 978 mW m−2 (providing a total dose of 7.04 kJ m−2) allowed separation of isolates into low, medium or high UV-B tolerance. This dose, therefore, was selected as a single dose to compare UV-B tolerances of all 60 Beauveria spp. isolates. There was high variability in tolerance to UV-B radiation among the B. bassiana isolates, ranging from virtually zero tolerance (e.g., Bb 03) to almost 80% tolerance (e.g., CG 228). In addition, surviving B. bassiana conidia demonstrated delayed germination; and this is likely to reduce virulence. Conidia of the other species were markedly more sensitive to UV-B, with E. albus (UFPE 3138) being the least UV-B tolerant. Among B. bassiana isolates originating from 0° to 22° latitudes, those from lower latitudes demonstrated statistically significant greater UV-B tolerances than those isolates from higher latitudes. Isolates from above 22°, however, were unaffected by latitude of origin. A similar analysis based on host type did not indicate a correlation between original host and UV-B tolerance. The identification in this study of several B. bassiana isolates with relatively high UV-B tolerance will guide the selection of isolates for future arthropod microbial control experiments.