Krell, Vivien; Jakobs-Schönwandt, Désirée; Persicke, Marcus; Patel, Anant
Successful commercialization of microbial biocontrol agents, such as Metarhizium spp., is often constrained by poor drying survival and shelf life. Here, we hypothesized that culture age would influence endogenous arabitol, erythritol, mannitol and trehalose contents in M. brunneum mycelium and that elevated levels of these compounds would improve drying survival and shelf life of encapsulated mycelium coupled with enhanced fungal virulence against T. molitor larvae. We found that culture age significantly influenced endogenous arabitol and mannitol contents in mycelium with highest concentrations of 0.6 +/- 0.2 and 2.1 +/- 0.2 A mu g/mg after 72 h, respectively. Drying survival of encapsulated mycelium was independent of culture age and polyol content with 41.1 +/- 4.4 to 55.0 +/- 6.2%. Best shelf life was determined for biomass harvested after 72 h at all investigated storage temperatures with maximum values of 59.5 +/- 3.3% at 5 A degrees C followed by 54.5 +/- 1.6% at 18 A degrees C and 19.4 +/- 1.3% at 25 A degrees C after 6 months. Finally, high fungal virulence against T. molitor larvae of 83.3 +/- 7.6 to 98.0 +/- 1.8% was maintained during storage of encapsulated mycelium for 12 months with larval mortalities being independent of culture age and polyol content. In conclusion, our findings indicate beneficial effects of endogenous polyols in improving shelf life of encapsulated mycelium and this may spur the successful development of microbial biocontrol agents in the future.
WORLD JOURNAL OF MICROBIOLOGY & BIOTECHNOLOGY