Status of recombinant baculoviruses in insect pest control

Bruce D. Hammock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Biological pesticides hold the promise of reducing exposure of humans and their environment to chemical pesticides as well as providing a cost effective way to control pests of human health and agriculture. These double- stranded DNA viruses are highly selective for insects and have proven effective in some biological control programs. However, baculoviruses kill their hosts very slowly. By inserting a gene coding for a toxin such as an insect-selective scorpion toxin, or a regulatory enzyme, such as insect- derived juvenile hormone esterase into the genome, the engineered virus causes the infected insect to produce large amounts of the recombinant protein. These proteins kill the insect faster than the wild-type parent virus in the case of toxins, or block feeding in the case of juvenile hormone esterase, leading to more effective biological insecticides. Recent studies have demonstrated dramatic reductions in feeding by insects infected with recombinant viruses. These recombinant viruses show high selectivity for target insects with little or no effect on a variety of beneficial arthropods. These biodegradable materials show promise for incorporation into integrated pest control programs by providing attractive supplements to classical pesticides and transgenic crops. The integration of recombinant viruses may prevent or overcome the mounting problem of insecticide resistance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)205-221
Number of pages17
JournalReviews in Toxicology
Issue number1-4
StatePublished - 1998

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Toxicology


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