The native isolate of Beauveria bassiana was introduced and bred as a bio controlling agent of Moroccan locusts by Dr. Arash Zibaee, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology Department, Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, University of Guilan.
Moroccan locust is one of the short tentacle grasshopper species that causes damage to crops and horticulture in mountainous and arid regions. Unfortunately, this pest has revolted in Gilan province in recent years and has caused a lot of damage to farmers so that there is no choice but to spray extensively with synthetic chemical compounds that in the long run will cause resistance from locusts and cause widespread environmental pollution. One of the effective strategies for controlling this pest is identifying winter hotspots and spraying with biocontrol agent and preventing pest outbreaks in spring. Furthermore, considering that the natural habitats of the province, especially rangelands, are rich in medicinal plants, the use of biological compounds such as insect pathogenic fungi can be one of the favorable options in controlling Moroccan locusts. Insect pathogenic fungi are microorganisms that enter the insect body through the cover and cause host death by consuming nutrients and producing toxin. Considering the necessity of combating this invasive pest in the province on the one hand and protecting the environment and human and livestock health on the other hand and in order to fulfill the memorandum of understanding of the cooperation of Guilan University with agricultural jihad institutes of Guilan province, joint research between Dr. Arash Shebaei, Associate Professor of Plant Pathology in University of Guilan, Tea Research Institute (Dr. Samar Ramzi and Dr. Ali Seraji) animal biotechnology research institute in the north of the country (Dr. Maryam Royan and Dr. Reza Azadi Gonbad) and Agricultural and Natural Resources Research Center of Guilan Province (Dr. Mohammad Reza Abbasi Meydehi) started using the native isolates of the pathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana through venomous assessment, mass production and preparation of Wettable Powder, which has had very favorable results. At first, it was found that the isolated BBLN1 isolate from the rice paddies of Lahijan had a very good venom on the grasshopper and while causing mortality, it was able to complete its life cycle on the grasshopper carcass. In addition, for mass cultivation of fungi instead of using expensive laboratory environments, environments such as rice bran and potatoes that can be easily optimized were used that in these environments, the fungus has produced a desirable vegetative and spores. Finally, in a limited scale, the formulation of Wettable Powder was prepared using bio-preservatives and facilitators of fungus efficiency, which is hoped that with coordination with the Agricultural Jihad Organization of Guilan province, especially the plant protection department, in the winter of this year, the winter foci of Moroccan locusts can be sprayed with the prepared formulation so that in the next year we will face a much more limited population of this pest in Gilan province.