Spodoptera litura is an emerging insect pest in a wide range of crops worldwide. The insect is difficult to control because of resistance development to synthetic insecticides and emerging resistance to Bacillus thuringiensis toxins. Therefore, there is a need to develop biological control agents, preferably from an indigenous source to avoid risks associated with the importation of exotic natural antagonists. A Pakistani isolate of S. litura nucleopolyhedrovirus (SpltNPV, Baculoviridae), SpltNPV-Pak-BNG, was obtained from the field and characterized biologically and genetically, and compared to a SpltNPV reference isolate, SpltNPV-G1, thought to be of Chinese origin. The dose–mortality response (LD50) of SpltNPV-Pak-BNG was not significantly different from that of the reference isolate SpltNPV-G1, but the time-to-death (LT50) was significantly shorter for SpltNPV-Pak-BNG than for SpltNPV-G1. DNA restriction enzyme profiling indicated that SpltNPV-Pak-BNG and SpltNPV-G1 are different viruses. Sequence analysis of ‘ORF24’, specific for SpltNPV (and S. littoralis NPV as ORF21), and the conserved baculovirus core genes polyhedrin, DNApol, pif-2 and lef-8 confirmed that this was indeed the case and that SpltNPV-Pak-BNG is a genuine SpltNPV variant, whereas the SpltNPV-G1 isolate we used is, in fact, a SpliNPV variant, renamed to SpliNPV-G1. The newly isolated SpltNPV-Pak-BNG has the potential for development as a biocontrol agent of S. litura in Pakistan.
- biological activity
- genetic characterization
- Spodoptera litura nucleopolyhedroviruses