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“Going Green” on the Putting Green with Biocontrol Fungus

During the U.S. Open held this summer in Erin Hills, Wisconsin, some of the world’s top golfers competed for a shot at becoming the 2017 champion (won by Brooks Koepka). The course’s meticulously groomed putting greens and fairways—like those of so many other golf facilities—are an inspiration to lawn-care enthusiasts near and far.

In Brazil, a Search for Fungi to Control Disease-Spreading Insects

This post is part of the Science Tuesday feature series on the USDA blog. Check back each week as we showcase stories and news from the USDA’s rich science and research portfolio.

If you want to find a fungus that controls disease-spreading insects, you might want to go somewhere known for its biodiversity. So it makes sense that USDA Agricultural Research Service (ARS) microbiologist Richard Humber will be traveling to Brazil over the next three years to join Brazilian scientists in searching for fungi to control black flies, sand flies and the types of mosquitoes that spread malaria, dengue and yellow fever.

Fungi are now used to control insects on crops. Beauveria bassiana, a fungus found in soils throughout the world, is widely sold for controlling thrips, whiteflies, aphids and beetles. Different types of fungi are also sometimes used to control mosquitoes, but they are not easy to handle or to apply, and their effectiveness has been questioned.