The tea mosquito bug (TMB), Helopeltis spp. (Hemiptera: Miridae) is an insidious pest that poses a significant economical threat to tea plantations. Pseudomonas cultures are being used extensively for pest management which, however, resulting in a low mortality rate of insects and which has prompted us to search for a new microbial metabolite for TMB control. A chitinase purified from P. fluorescens and partially characterized by our group showed insecticidal activity against TMB. The mode of action behind chitinase toxicity is the enzymatic hydrolysis of chitin, which is a common constituent of the insect exoskeleton and gut lining of the peritrophic membrane. A chitinase-secreting strain MP-13 was characterized based on 16S rRNA sequencing and validated as Pseudomonas fluorescens. In the present study, purified chitinase (0.048 units/ml) enzyme from P. fluorescens MP-13 revealed 100% TMB mortality under in-vitro conditions. The results of this study can be utilized for future crop improvement programs and integrated pest management strategies.
2017, Applied Microbiology, Molecular and Cellular Biosciences Research Foundation