Biological Control and Microbial Control

I will use the terminology with regard to biological control as proposed by Eilenberg et al. (2001). The term "biological control" will be used interchangeably with bio-control as this is widely accepted. "Biological control" is defined by Eilenberg et al. (2001) as the use of living organisms to suppress the population density or impact of a specific pest organism, making it less abundant or less damaging than it would otherwise be. The authors emphasized the use of living organisms, and include viruses. They excluded the use of genes and metabolites when used alone. Any associated metabolites, however, to which the effects of pest control are (partly) attributed, such as the Bt toxins, should be inclusive in this definition. In that case, I agree with this definition and will follow it. The term microbial control is used to describe the use of living microorganisms as biological control agents, and is considered a sub-set of biological control. The term "microbial control" was first used by Steinhaus (1949) and defined as follows: "that phase of biological control concerned with the employment by man of microorganisms for the control and reduction of the number of animals (or plants) in particular area or a given population." An early definition of the term biopesticide could not be traced after an extensive search of the literature. EPA defined the term biopesticide in the early 1990s, but, as earlier said, in my opinion unsatisfactory.

I will use the term "microbial control" when microorganisms or ento-mopathogenic nematodes are used for pest control purposes. Nematodes are not generally defined as microorganisms. They are, however, usually grouped along with bacteria, fungi, viruses, etc. in microbial crop protection, and this probably originates from the research discipline, insect pathology, in which they are studied. This separates them from the entomological research field on natural enemies/beneficial arthropods such as predators and parasitoids. On the other hand, nematodes as well as parasitic and predacious arthropods are referred to as invertebrate biocontrol agents (IBCA) and "macrobials". Regulatory authorities usually regulate nematodes in the same way as "macrobials". In most countries, pesticide regulations for microorganisms do not include nematodes. The positioning of ento-mopathogenic nematodes is not always logical considering their taxonomy, biology and regulatory position. In the biocontrol industry, nematodes are mostly produced by companies which are also involved in microorganisms. The mass production, product development, and method of application of bacteria, fungi, baculoviruses and nematodes have many similarities. I will position them as microbial pest control agents along with the microorganisms used as biocontrol agents, unless specified differently. Where relevant, I will separate them from true microorganisms as, for instance, in a regulatory context.

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