Entomopathogenic fungi associated with cultivated honeybush, Cyclopia spp., in South Africa and their pathogenicity towards a leafhopper pest, Molopopterus sp. (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae)





insect management, microbial control, pest management


The southern and eastern parts of the African Fynbos region favour the production of honeybush tea. Honeybush biomass and extracts are used to prepare a beverage both locally and internationally, mainly as herbal tea with health benefits. Honeybush tea is mostly grown organically requiring natural control measures for pests and diseases. The leafhopper, Molopopterus sp., is one of the most important pests of cultivated honeybush in South Africa, as its feeding compromises the quality and quantity of the yield through leaf discolouration and reduction of the photosynthetic area. Local entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) can provide a pool of potential biocontrol agents for this pest. Therefore, a total of 98 soil samples were collected from organically grown honeybush fields and vegetation surrounding the honeybush fields in the Western Cape province of South Africa. Entomopathogenic fungi were isolated using the insect bait method and were characterised using molecular techniques. Twenty fungal isolates of Metarhizium anisopliae and Fusarium oxysporum were recovered from soil samples, of which 70% were from honeybush fields and 30% were from surrounding vegetation. Fusarium oxysporum isolates comprised 20% of the recovered isolates; M. anisopliae the remainder. Laboratory bioassays of the recovered isolates against adults and nymphs of the leafhopper, showed that F. oxysporum isolates caused 10–45% mortality and M. anisopliae isolates 30–80% mortality. Metarhizium anisopliae isolates J S1, KF S3, KF S11, KF S13, LS1 and LS2 were the most virulent and induced over 60% mortality in both nymphs and adults at a concentration of 1 × 107 conidia/ml. 


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How to Cite

Mushore T, Coombes C, Hill M. Entomopathogenic fungi associated with cultivated honeybush, Cyclopia spp., in South Africa and their pathogenicity towards a leafhopper pest, Molopopterus sp. (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae). Afr. Entomol. [Internet]. 2023 Jun. 27 [cited 2023 Oct. 4];31. Available from: https://www.africanentomology.com/article/view/14183




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