CPB Killed By Glowing Bacterium

Published online: Oct 26, 2001
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Lab studies by the ARS show that a glowing bacterium called Photorhabdus luminescens reduced Colorado potato beetles by 100 percent. This makes it a prime biocontrol candidate for the pest that annual takes a heavy toll on potato crops.

Phyllis Martin, a microbiologist, while studying bacteria to control CPB, found a strain of P. luminescens that outshone the competition. She received it from entomologist Michael Blackburn.

Blackburn is working at the Beltsville, MD, lab investigating toxins for biocontrols while Martin is looking at the whole bacteria to control beetles.

It appears the bacterium causes the beetles to stop eating, though scientists don't know why.