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biological control; Clonostachys rosea; entomopathogenic fungi; Spodoptera frugiperda; Zea mays
Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith) is a highly destructive pest that affects major food and cash crops in Sub-Saharan Africa. Maize, in particular, is a preferred host for this pest, posing a significant threat to food security. Initially, conventional synthetic pesticides were widely used to combat the pest. However, the potential of entomopathogenic fungi (EPF) as cost-effective and safe alternative has been recognized. The objective of this study was to collect and identify the local EPF species in selected areas of Tanzania's mainland, namely Mwanza, Morogoro, Coast, and Songwe regions. Morphological and molecular methods were employed to identify the fungal species recovered from 100 S. frugiperda cadavers. The findings revealed that 90% of the recovered fungi belonged to the genera of Fusarium while the remaining 10% were Clonostachys. These results suggest that Fusarium species hold promise as effective bio-control agents against S. frugiperda due to their wide distribution and tolerance to field disturbances. However, additional studies are necessary to validate the effectiveness of these recovered fungi against S. frugiperda.