University of California

Microorganisms and their byproducts, nematodes, oils and particle films have important agricultural uses


Larry D Godfrey
Elizabeth E Grafton-Cardwell
Harry K Kaya
William E Chaney

Authors Affiliations

L.D. Godfrey is Extension and Research Entomologist, Department of Entomology, UC Davis; E.E. Grafton-Cardwell is Extension and Research Entomologist, Department of Entomology, UC Riverside; H.K. Kaya is Professor, Departments of Nematology and Entomology, UC Davis; and W.E. Chaney is Entomology Farm Advisor, UC Cooperative Extension, Monterey County.

Publication Information

Hilgardia 59(1):35-40. DOI:10.3733/ca.v059n01p35. January 2005.

PDF of full article, Cite this article


The insect and mite control potential of natural and biological toxins has been recognized for several centuries. Bacteria, viruses, protozoa and fungi are the primary groups of microorganisms known to reduce insect populations; they often occur naturally in fields and function as components of biological control. Beneficial nematodes are also being used for pest control, especially against soil insects. The isolation of toxic metabolic compounds from microorganisms continues to be a fruitful research area, although there are barriers to their successful marketing and distribution. Another, more controversial way to deliver these insect-specific toxins to the target pest is through genetically modified plants, such as those modified to express Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) toxins. Oils and particle films also have important niche uses for pest control.


Black CA, Karban R, Godfrey LD, et al. Jasmonic acid: A vaccine against leafminers (Diptera: Agromyzidae) in celery. Environ Entomol. 2003. 32:1196-202. https://doi.org/10.1603/0046-225X(2003)032[1196:JAAVAL]2.0.CO;2

Cross JV, Solomon MG, Chandler D, et al. Biocontrol of pests of apples and pears in northern and central Europe: 1. Microbial agents and nematodes. Biocontrol Sci Tech. 1999. 9:125-49. https://doi.org/10.1080/09583159929721

[DPR] California Department of Pesticide Regulation. Summary of Pesticide Use Report Data 2002 Indexed by Chemical.. 2003. Sacramento, CA: http://www.cdpr.ca.gov

Flint ML. Biological approaches to the management of arthropods. In: Beyond Pesticides: Biological Approaches to Pest Management in California.. 1992. Oakland, CA: DANR Pub 3354. p. 2-30.

Glenn DM, Puterka GJ, Vanderzwet T, et al. Hydrophobic particle films a new paradigm for suppression of arthropod pests and plant diseases. J Econ Entomol. 1999. 92:759-71.

Karban R, Baldwin IT. Induced Responses to Herbivory.. 1997. Chicago: Univ Chicago Pr. 319p.

Karban R, English-Loeb G, Hougen-Eitzman D. Mite vaccinations for sustainable management of spider mites in vineyards. Ecol Appl. 1997. 7:183-93. https://doi.org/10.1890/1051-0761(1997)007[0183:MVFSMO]2.0.CO;2

Kienzle JC, Schulz C, Zebitz CPW, Huber J. Persistence of the biological effect of codling moth granulovirus in the orchard — preliminary field trials. Proc 10th Int Conf Cultivation Technique and Phytopathological Problems in Organic Fruit-Growing and Viticulture, Feb 4–7, 2002. Weinsberg, Ger 2002. 91.

Koppenhöfer AM, Kaya HK, Koul O, Dhaliwal GS. Entomopathogenic nematodes and insect pest management. Microbial Biopesticides.. London/New York: Taylor Francis. p. 277-305.

McCutchen BF, Choudary PV, Crenshaw R, et al. Development of a recombinant baculovirus expressing an insect-selective neurotoxin: Potential for pest control. Bio/Technol. 1991. 9:848-52. https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt0991-848

[NRC] National Research Council. The Future Role of Pesticides in U.S. Agriculture.. Committee on the Future Role of Pesticides in U.S. Agriculture 2000. Washington, DC: Nat Ac Pr.

Omer AD, Granett J, Karban R, Villa EM. Chemically induced resistance against multiple pests in cotton. Int J Pest Man. 2001. 47:49-54. https://doi.org/10.1080/09670870150215595

Shelton AM, Zhao JZ, Roush RT. Economic, ecological, food safety, and social consequences of the deployment of Bt transgenic plants. Ann Rev Entomol. 2002. 47:845-81. https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.ento.47.091201.145309

Tanada Y, Kaya HK. Insect Pathology.. 1993. San Diego: Academic Pr. 666p.

[USGS] US Geological Survey. Water quality in the Sacramento River Basin, California, 1994–98. USGS Cir 1215 2000.

Godfrey L, Grafton-Cardwell E, Kaya H, Chaney W. 2005. Microorganisms and their byproducts, nematodes, oils and particle films have important agricultural uses. Hilgardia 59(1):35-40. DOI:10.3733/ca.v059n01p35
Webmaster Email: sjosterman@ucanr.edu