Termites are known to be highly destructive to industrial and residential structures and are responsible for approximately $1 billion in damages each year in the United States. In 2009, an unidentified fungus was found to have killed an entire colony of the drywood termite Incisitermes minor at Azusa Pacific University. The identity of the fungus was determined by DNA sequence analysis, as well as comparison of morphological features of the isolated fungus to an ATCC strain of Aspergillus sclerotiorum. The fungus’ lethality in vitro against I. minor has been studied by determination of median lethal time (LT50) and median lethal dose (LD50). Sequencing and morphology provided compelling evidence that the isolated fungus is indeed a strain of A. sclerotiorum. Future work includes investigating the fungus’ lethality against subterranean termites, as well as its mechanism of entomopathogenicity. Further analysis of the fungus’ termite-killing capacity may prove it to be an effective means of safe, environmentally friendly termite control.
Full conference title:
- ASM 113th (2013)