Both solar UVA and UVB radiation impair conidial culturability and delay germination in the entomopathogenic fungus Metarhizium anisopliae

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Photochemistry and Photobiology





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The entomopathogenic hyphomycete Metarhizium anisopliae has been used in programs of agricultural pest and disease vector control in several countries. Exposure to simulated solar radiation for a few hours can completely inactivate the conidia of the fungus. In the present study we determined the effect of exposures to full-spectrum sunlight and to solar ultraviolet A radiation at 320–400 nm (UVA) on the conidial culturability and germination of three M. anisopliae strains. The exposures were performed in July and August 2000 in Logan, UT. The strains showed wide variation in tolerance when exposed to full-spectrum sunlight as well as to UVA sunlight. Four-hour exposures to full-spectrum sunlight reduced the relative culturability by approximately 30% for strain ARSEF 324 and by 100% for strains ARSEF 23 and 2575. The relative UV sensitivity of the two more sensitive strains was different under solar UV from that under ultraviolet B radiation at 280–320 nm (UVB) in the laboratory. Four-hour exposures to solar UVA reduced the relative culturability by 10% for strain ARSEF 324, 40% for strain ARSEF 23 and 60% for strain ARSEF 2575. Exposures to both full-spectrum sunlight and UVA sunlight delayed the germination of the surviving conidia of all three strains. These results, in addition to confirming the deleterious effects of UVB, clearly demonstrate the negative effects of UVA sunlight on the survival and germination of M. anisopliae conidia under natural conditions. The negative effects of UVA in sunlight also emphasize that the biological spectral weighting functions for this fungus must not neglect the UVA wavelengths.

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