Genetic Enhancement of Baculovirus Insecticides

  • Bryony C. Bonning
  • Anthony J. Boughton
  • Hailing Jin
  • Robert L. Harrison


Baculoviruses are arthropod-specific viruses that infect species mainly within the order Lepidoptera (Adams and McClintock, 1991). The two genera nucleopolyhedrovirus (NPV) and granulovirus (GV), within the family Baculoviridae, are identified by occlusion body morphology with single (GV) and multiple (NPV) virions occluded in granules or polyhedra respectively. Baculoviruses are regarded as safe and selective insecticides, but although they have been used successfully for management of a number of agricultural and forestry pests (Federici, 1999; Moscardi, 1999), their use as microbial pesticides has not met their potential. Two of the main reasons for their limited use are the slow speed of kill of the targeted pest relative to classical chemical insecticides, and a narrow host range that may exclude many of the pest species found on a given crop. Genetic engineering has been used successfully to improve the speed of kill of baculovirus insecticides (Harrison and Bonning, 2000a; van Beek and Hughes, 1998). The baculovirus Autographa californica multicapsid nucleopolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) optimized by genetic engineering for improved insecticidal efficacy has shown performance under field conditions comparable to that of classical chemical insecticides (Black et al., 1997; Treacy, 1997; Treacy et al., 2000; DuPont, 1996).


Host Range Nontarget Organism Wild Type Virus Recombinant Baculovirus Nuclear Polyhedrosis Virus 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bryony C. Bonning
    • 1
  • Anthony J. Boughton
    • 1
  • Hailing Jin
    • 1
  • Robert L. Harrison
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Entomology and Program in GeneticsIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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