SBIR Phase I: Combining fungal metabolites and fungal insect pathogens for cost effective control of bark beetles in forestry
National Science Foundation
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Small Business Information
Montana Microbial Products
510 East Kent Ave., MISSOULA, MT, 59801-6020
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged:
AbstractThis Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Phase I project will establish proof of concept for enhancing fungal bioinsecticide to control bark beetles, important forestry pests. Although research shows potential of fungal insect pathogens as bark beetle bioinsecticides, no commercial products have been developed. The short exposure time of adults, inaccessibility of larvae, and limited time to kill before irreversible tree damage makes control difficult. Innovation to overcome these barriers comes from understanding complex interactions between beetles and fungi. Phase 1 will establish technical, economic, and regulatory feasibility of combining fungal pathogens with fungal metabolites that inhibit beetle boring behavior. Inhibiting boring would increase efficacy by increasing exposure time of beetles to fungal pathogen spores. Research will define baseline efficacy of the fungal pathogen; identify fungal metabolites that act as boring deterrents; determine commercially scalable production process for selected metabolites; and assess regulatory requirements. The broader/commercial impacts of this research are a cost effective, safe and environmentally benign bio-insecticide with substantial commercial potential to replace chemical insecticides now used to protect high value trees and to expand control strategies where chemical insecticides are too expensive or limited by environmental impact. A climate change exacerbated outbreak of mountain pine beetle (MPB) is devastating western United States and Canadian pine forests, severely impacting to economic and recreational value. The time and cost required to develop a commercial product is favorable as MMP will combine boring inhibitors with an EPA approved, commercially available fungal strain with demonstrated pathogenicity to MPB.
* information listed above is at the time of submission.