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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2013

Combining Mutualistic Yeast and Pathogenic Virus - A Novel Method for Codling Moth Control

Knight, Alan; Witzgall, Peter


The combination of a pathogenic virus and mutualistic yeasts isolated from larvae of codling moth Cydia pomonella is proposed as a novel insect control technique. Apples were treated with codling moth granulovirus (CpGV) and either one of three yeasts, Metschnikowia pulcherrima, Cryptococcus tephrensis, or Aureobasidium pullulans. The combination of yeasts with CpGV significantly increased mortality of neonate codling moth larvae, compared with CpGV alone. The three yeasts were equally efficient in enhancing the activity of CpGV. The addition of brown cane sugar to yeast further increased larval mortality and the protection of fruit against larvae. In comparison, without yeast, the addition of sugar to CpGV did not produce a significant effect. A field trial confirmed that fruit injury and larval survival were significantly reduced when apple trees were sprayed with CpGV, M. pulcherrima, and sugar. We have shown earlier that mutualistic yeasts are an essential part of codling moth larval diet. The finding that yeast also enhances larval ingestion of an insect-pathogenic virus is an opportunity for the development of a novel plant protection technique. We expect the combination of yeasts and insect pathogens to essentially contribute to future insect management.


Plant-microbe-insect-interaction; Herbivory; Mutualism; Chemical communication; Semiochemicals; Apple; Granulovirus

Published in

Journal of Chemical Ecology
2013, volume: 39, number: 7, pages: 1019-1026
Publisher: SPRINGER

Authors' information

Knight, Alan
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Plant Protection Biology

UKÄ Subject classification

Behavioral Sciences Biology

Publication Identifiers


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