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New Zealand Plant Protection 67 (2014): 329

A treasure trove of insect pathogens and other beneficial microbes

T.L. Nelson and S.D. Young

ABSTRACT

AgResearch Lincoln maintains two large collections of beneficial microbes, which include insectpathogenic bacteria and fungi, and plant growth-promoting microorganisms. The collections serve as a repository for indigenous microbes of potential value as biocontrol agents and plant growth stimulants, as well as reference isolates from overseas collections. Over 3500 bacterial and 680 fungal isolates have been accessioned over a 22-year period from most regions in New Zealand, including the Chatham Islands. Preservation of these vital genetic resources is essential for current and future bioprotection programmes, providing a source of beneficial microbes for regulation of pest threats arising through biosecurity failure, new crop management priorities and climate change. The microbes are made available for research trials/commercialisation through collaborative programmes with research organisations, such as Plant & Food Research (fungi and bacteria for control of chorus cicada, Fuller's rose weevil, bronze beetle), Landcare Research (fungi for control of social wasps), Auckland University (effect of endophytic insect-pathogenic fungi on plant growth), and industry partners. In the last decade the collections have also played a role in confirming the presence in New Zealand of microorganisms formerly considered to be "new" under the HSNO Act.

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