During the past twenty years, a number of technological advancements have been made in the development of microbial pesticides for use in agricultural and forest insect control programs. The microbial pesticide currently used for the majority of these applications has been Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) var. kurstaki. This organism has proven itself to be a valuable tool for the control of lepidopterous insects on vegetables, cotton, soybean, and in hardwood and coniferous forests. The expansion of Bt from the original vegetable crop applications to field crops and forest insect control programs has occurred along with significant advances in technology involving the culture, mass production, formulation, and application of this unique microbe. The current interest in Bt and microbial insect control agents has been heightened by the recent development of significant resistance to chemical insecticides in a number of target insect species.
Additional advances in Bt formulation and application are foreseen for the next decade. These advancements should lead so further improvements in efficacy and increased usage of Bt preparations in agriculture and forestry.
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