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Delivering quality through rigorous standards

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A look into how we use our Packing and Logistics Centre to drive quality for our customers.

By Cory Smit, Dudutech Marketing

Photo: An aerial photograph of Dudutech’s Packhouse and Logistics Centre at Ladybird Farm, Naivasha (Dudutech, 2020).

Rearing biologicals is one thing – getting them around the world, alive and ready to feast, is a whole other challenge. In recent years, a significant amount of R&D focus at Dudutech has been on understanding this challenge and meeting it through innovations in quality control, cold-chain management and packaging specs. The result is consistent delivery anywhere in the world within 48 hours, without compromising the performance of the biologicals.

At Dudutech, it all starts with the people. Over 350 employees have been trained and integrated into the Dudutech family, among them doctoral and post-grad scientists, each with their own place and purpose. The team leans on their extensive collective experience to guarantee optimum product quality at every stage, from R&D to delivery on the crop.

Photo: Evans Oyo inspecting a sample under a microscope. (Dudutech/Georgina Little, 2018).

Following harvest, Jack Adundo – Technical Manager – and his dedicated QC (Quality Control) scientists vigorously check each batch on a microscopic level. By building the ISO 9001:2015 Quality Management System into our tried and tested Standard Operating Procedures, we ensure only products of the highest degree of quality make it to the customer’s crops. These safeguards are further buffered by pre-pack and after-pack sampling of each batch to aid quick troubleshooting and provide feedback into our continuous improvement program.

From there, their journey around the world begins. Eric Langat, who is at the head of the team at the Packhouse and Logistics Centre, fulfils the orders and uses a dynamic logistics network to secure the earliest possible delivery times.

Each of the packaging standards is continuously trialled and the resulting innovations have had a significant impact on how we pack and move the orders. The most important recent improvements are the packaging re-use scheme, the volume each order occupies, maintenance of conditions in transit, improved ease of use and optimised performance on delivery. 

In particular, the packing standards for our mites range combine an improved bottle shape and bespoke Duduvent cap design with streamlined shipping materials to balance performance, efficiency and size in transit. Duduvent provides a unique solution to the challenge. It ensures the air inside the mite’s bottles is cool and fresh and provides end-users with a better way to spread the mites on the crop.

While the tickets are being booked, each order enters our bio-chain. This specially designed and digitally monitored cold-chain system can maintain transit conditions over great distances for up to 48 hours.

Image: A bio-chain delivery vehicle used to transport biologicals under climate-controlled conditions. (Dudutech, 2020).

Our fleet of custom-designed delivery vehicles forms the backbone of our bio-chain network. These refrigerated trucks are used to distribute the orders from our Ladybird Farm in Naivasha directly to farmers in Kenya or to export customers via Jomo Kenyatta International Airport.

We include digital data monitors in each shipment to gather data on humidity and temperature and this information is then carefully analysed and relayed back to the technical team for further improvement.

Fig. 1. Process flow for Dudutech’s cold-chain standard operating procedure.

 

Want to know more?

Contact us to find out how your farm can benefit from having the freshest supply of biologicals products available.

info@dudutech.com

+254704491120

Beauveria bassiana: What about the bees?

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The effect of Beauvitech on nature’s little helpers

By John Ogechah and Cory Smit

 

Beauveria bassiana is a well-known soil-dwelling entomopathogenic (insect-killing) fungus found all over the world. For more than 100 years, tons of B. bassiana spores (e.g. Beauvitech®) have been commercially produced and used for biological control of insect pests worldwide. Growers have come to rely on this clever biological action known as white muscardine disease as a major player in chemical-free pest control. 

Following increased interest in biocontrol of pest insects between 1980 and 1990, safety aspects were raised and discussed in great detail. Burges (1981) outlined the main principles and guidelines for testing the safety of insect pathogens and “that a pathogen should be registered as safe when there is reasonable evidence that it is so and in the absence of concrete evidence that it is not. A “no risk” situation does not exist, certainly not with chemical pesticides, and even with biological agents one cannot absolutely prove a negative.” 

The commercial use of entomopathogenic fungi and their products as mycoinsecticides (fungus-based insecticides), therefore, necessitates their registration based on certain safety guidelines. Beauveria bassiana is indeed registered in several countries and proof of safety to non-target organisms such as mammals, fish, amphibia, birds, pollinators etc is an important requirement before registration.

Still, the lingering question posed by farmers and indeed the greater society is “What about the bees?” In other words, how safe are mycoinsecticides and, specifically, Beauveria bassiana to these little helpers of nature?

There are numerous peer-reviewed papers on the effect of B. bassiana on honeybees and other beneficial organisms. Examples are presented in Table I below. Notable is the fact that most of the studies were done in the laboratory and only a few in the field. 

The vast majority of the studies done on bees conclude that despite the wide host range of B. bassiana, this fungus can be used with minimal impact on honeybees and other non-target organisms. Some experiments showed that B. Bassiana can be blown directly into hives to manage Varroa destructor mites (Acari: Varroidae) without a negative effect on the bee colonies (Miekle et al., 2008; Rodríguez et al. 2009). Another set of experiments looked at using honeybees to distribute B. bassiana spores directly to crop flowers and foliage (Almazra’awi et al. 2006). Similarly, no adverse effects on the bees were reported. 

In one case, however, Almazra’awi (2007) reports that B. bassiana strains caused high mortality in caged bees dusted with dry formulations of high concentrations (10⁸-10 CFUg-1). Interestingly, in the same paper (Almazra’awi, 2007), exposure of whole beehives under field conditions resulted in low mortality that was not different from the controls regardless of the isolate tested. This points to the difference between the physiological host range and the ecological host range (Hajek & Butler 2000). 

The physiological host range demonstrates the range of insect species that can be infected in the laboratory, while the ecological host range demonstrates which insects can be infected in nature or under field conditions. Non-target insects which are infected under laboratory conditions, may not necessarily be infected in nature (Zimmermann, 2007)

We conclude that despite the wide host range of B. bassiana, evidence to date suggests that this fungus can be used with minimal impact on non-target organisms, especially when isolate selection and spacio-temporal factors are taken into consideration. Our answer is unwavering: Beauveria bassiana (Beauvitech®) has no negative effect on honeybees (Apis mellifera) in normal field conditions. In fact, there are numerous examples of benefits B. bassiana can have with and for bees. 

 

Table I. Examples of effects of B. bassiana (strains and formulations) on beneficial and non-target organisms.

 

Beneficial organism Fungus (Strain/ Formulation) Lab./ Field Trials (L/F) Results/Observations Reference
Amblyseius cucumeris  B. bassiana (Naturalis-L, BotaniGard WP) L/F No detrimental effect when sprayed onto excised cucumber leaves Jacobson et al. (2001)
Aphidius colemaniOrius insidiosusPhytoseiulus persimilisEncarsia formosa  B. Bassiana (commercial formulation, strain JW-1) L Highly susceptible under laboratory conditions, lower infection rates in greenhouse Ludwig and Oetting (2001)
Apis mellifera  B. bassiana  F Conidia were applied in bee hives: low mortality and no noticeable effect on behaviour, larvae and colony characteristics Alves et al. (1996)
Apis mellifera  B. bassiana (unformulated spore preparation) L B. bassiana reduced bee longevity at the two highest concentrations tested and caused mycosis at 106–108 spores per bee Vandenberg (1990)
Apis mellifera  B. bassiana (Naturalis-L, Bio-Power) L 30-day dietary and contact studies had no significant effect; LC50 (23 days, ingestion) 9.285 µg/bee Copping (2004)
Apis mellifera  B. bassiana L High mortality in caged bees dusted with dry formulation at high concentration (108-109 CFUg-1)Very low mortality following exposure to high inoculum densities regardless of the isolate.  Al mazrawi (2007)
Apis mellifera  M. anisopliae, B. bassiana, B. thuringiensis L M. anisopliae and B. bassiana reduced survival of A. mellifera when sprayed directly, all did not induce morphometric alterations in the midgut. Potrich et al. (2017)
Arthropod and nematode populations B. bassiana (Naturalis-L) F Chlorpyrifos had a stronger negative impact than the microbial treatment Wang et al. (2001)
Bembidion lampros Agonum dorsale  B. bassiana  F/L A negligible number was infected; low susceptibility of both species Riedel and Steenberg (1998)
Bombus terrestris  B. bassiana  L/F Able to infect bumblebees; it appears that there are no risks if the fungus is incorporated into the soil or sprayed onto plants that are not attractive to bumblebees Hokkanen et al. (2003)
Carabidae: Calanthus micropterusC. piceusCarabus violaceus Cychrus caraboidesLeistus ruefescens Nebria brevicollis, Pterostichus oblongopunctatus, P. niger  B. bassiana  L No adverse effects noticed Hicks et al. (2001)
Carabidae, Staphylinidae B. bassiana  F Infection levels in adult ground beetles and rove beetles were low (Carabidae max. 7.6% and Staphylinidae max. 7.0%); an epizootic in the staphylinid Anotylus rugosus (67%) and Gyrohypnus angustatus (37%) was observed Steenberg et al. (1995)
Cephalonomia tarsalis  B. bassiana  3 h exposure to 100 and 500 mg kg−1 wheat resulted in 52.5 and 68.6% mortality Lord (2001)
Chrysoperla carnea  B. bassiana  L Temperature, starvation and nutrition stresses significantly affected the susceptibility; nutrition stress caused the most increase in adult and larval mortality Donegan and Lighthart (1989)
Coleomegilla maculate  B. bassiana (isolate ARSEF 3113) L/F No mortality was observed Pingel and Lewis (1996)
Coleomegilla maculate and Eriopis connexa  B. bassiana (isolate ARSEF 731) L Mortality after direct application of spores; exposure via sprayed leaf surfaces resulted in no infection Magalhaes et al. (1988)
Coleomegilla maculate lengi  B. bassiana (10 isolates) L 6 isolates were highly virulent, 3 isolates caused low mortality Todorova et al. (2000)
Diadegma semiclausum  B. bassiana  L Detrimental effects on cocoon production and emergence depending on the concentration Furlong (2004)
Formica polyctena  B. brongniartii  F No negative effects noticed Dombrow (1988)
Earthworms: Lumbricus terrestris and others B. brongniartii (commercial product of barley grains) L/F No effect in a lab and in field noticed Hozzank et al. (2003)
Earthworms: Lumbricus terrestris  B. brongniartii  L No effect on earthworms noticed Arregger-Zavadil (1992)
Earthworms: Aporrectodea caliginosa  B. bassiana (Bb64) L No effect on hatching rate of cocoons Nuutinen et al. (1991)
Lysiphlebus testaceipeAphidius colmani  B. bassiana  F No significant impacts on both parasitoids Murphy et al. (1999)
Megachile rotundata  B. bassiana (strain for grasshopper control) L Spray-application of flowering alfalfa in pots: female and male mortality averaged 9%; no difference in treatment and control; however B. bassiana grew out from dead bees Goettel and Johnson (1992)
Nontarget arthropods (forests) B. brongniartii  F Only 1.1% of 10.165 collected insects and spiders were infected Baltensweiler and Cerutti (1986)
Nontarget arthropods (forests) B. brongniartii  F 1671 nontarget specimens were collected: 3.4% of them were infected, mainly species from Araneae, Thysanoptera, Homoptera, Coleoptera and Lepidoptera Back et al. (1988)
Nontarget arthropods (major predators, parasitoids and pollinators on rangeland) B. bassiana (strain GHA) F No statistical differences in the abundance of aerial insects Brinkman and Fuller (1999)
Nontarget arthropods (forests) B. bassiana (emulsifiable concentrate) F From 3615 invertebrates collected, only 2.8% became infected; B. bassiana could be applied to forest soil without a significant negative impact on forest-dwelling invertebrate population Parker et al. (1997)
Non-target beetle communities B. bassiana (strain SP 16) F No detectable effects Ivie et al. (2002)
Perillus bioculatus  B. bassiana (six isolates) L 5 isolates were highly pathogenic, isolate IPP46 showed low pathogenicity Todorova et al. (2002)
Pimelia senegalensisTrachyderma hispidaBracon hebetorApoanagyrus lopezi  B. bassiana  L No infection in P. senegalensis and T. hispida; 100% mortality in the parasitoids B. hebetor and A. lopezi  Danfa et al. (1999)
Poecilus versicolor  B. brongniartii (Melocont-Pilzgerste, Melocont-WP, and Melocont-WG) L No significant negative effects on P. versicolor could be observed Traugott et al. (2005)
Predatory mites:O. insidiosus  B. Bassiana (Botanigard ES) F Can be used Shipp et al. (2003)
A. colemaniDacnusa sibiria      Not recommended during application of B.bassiana   
Parasites:         
Encarsia formosa Eretmocerus eremicusAphidoletes aphidimyza      Used with caution during application of B. bassiana   
Prorops nasuta  B. bassiana (3 isolates) L Strain 25 caused the lowest infection level De La Rosa et al. (2000)
Serangium parcesetosum  B. bassiana  L The predator had significantly lower survivorship when sprayed with B. bassiana than with P. fumosoroseus; feeding on B. bassiana contaminated prey caused 86% mortality Poprawski et al. (1998)

Adapted from Zimmermann (2007).

 

References:

William G. Meikle, Guy Mercadier, Niels Holst, Christian Nansen, Vincent Girod. Impact of a treatment of Beauveria bassiana (Deuteromycota: Hyphomycetes) on honeybee (Apis mellifera) colony health and on Varroa destructor mites (Acari: Varroidae). Apidologie, Springer Verlag, 2008, 39 (2), pp.247-259. Ffhal-00892301f

Marta Rodríguez, Marcos Gerding, Andrés France. Selection of entomopathogenic fungi to control Varroa destructor (Acari: Varroidae). Chilean J. Agric. Res. – Vol. 69 – Nº 4 – 2009

Burges, HD. 1981. “Safety, safety testing and quality control of microbial pesticides”. In Microbial control of pests and plant diseases 1970–1980, Edited by: Burges, HD. 737767. London: Academic Press.

Hajek, AE and Butler, L. 2000. “Predicting the host range of entomopathogenic fungi”. In Nontarget effects of biological control, Edited by: Follett, PA and Duan, JJ. 263276. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

S. Al Mazra’awi, J. L. Shipp, A. B. Broadbent, P. G. Kevan, Dissemination of Beauveria bassianaby Honey Bees (Hymenoptera: Apidae) for Control of Tarnished Plant Bug (Hemiptera: Miridae) on Canola, Environmental Entomology, Volume 35, Issue 6, 1 December 2006, Pages 1569–1577, https://doi.org/10.1093/ee/35.6.1569

Zimmermann, G. (2007) Review on safety of the entomopathogenic fungi Beauveria bassiana and Beauveria brongniartii, Biocontrol Science and Technology, 17:6, 553-596, DOI: 10.1080/09583150701309006

Al Mazra’awi, M. S. (2007). Impact of entomopathogenic fungus Beauveria bassiana on honeybees, Apis mellifera (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Worl Journal of Agricultural Science 3(1): 07-11, 2007.