Biological Control of Tuta absoluta on Tomato

This 2-year research project which focused on “Biological Control of Tuta absoluta on Tomato using Endophytic Beauveria Bassiana. And Trichoderma harzianum in the University of Eldoret” was funded both by the World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Grant and the University of Eldoret Annual Research Grant. The project was implemented by Prof. Lizzy Mwamburi as the Project PI with Dr. Nicholas Rop and Laban Ngobiro as the co-investigators. The aim of the  project was to; determine the viability of the two fungal entomopathogens in cow, chicken and filter mud, to determine the response of Tuta absoluta to Beauveria bassiana and Trichoderma harzianum – amended composts in two tomato varieties and to assess the effects of endophytic Beauveria bassiana and Trichoderma harzianum – amended composts on root and aerial parts of two tomato varieties.

The researchers assessed the response of aerial and root dry biomass of two tomato varieties, Rio Grande and Monica F1 to two endophytic entomopathogenic fungi Beauveria bassiana and Trichoderma harzianum - amended compost; cow, chicken and filter mud. They also investigated whether the endophytes could colonize and persist in the two tomato varieties and protect the tomato plants against Tuta absoluta larvae. Results showed that the two endophytic entomopathogens were able to colonize and grow in the three manures and that Cow manure amended with a combination of the two endophytes significantly reduced (36%) the weights of Tuta larvae on the tomato variety Monica F1. However, chicken amended with a combination of the two endophytes exhibited a 33% larval weight reduction in Rio Grande variety. This information may be used in tomato production systems and T. absoluta larvae integrated management programs as a long-term preventive measure. The team presented this work during the 4th University of Eldoret International Conference.


 B. bassiana

Roots of Rio Grande tomato variety in chicken manure amended with a. B. bassiana, b. T. harzianum, c.  a combination of B. bassiana and T. harzianum and d. Control


 B. bassiana

Aerial parts (30 days) of Monica F1 tomato variety in chicken manure amended with a. B. bassiana, b. T. harzianum, c.  a combination of B. bassiana and T. harzianum and d. Control


Lizzy Mwamburi is an Associate Professor of Plant Pathology at the University of Eldoret.  She is a graduate (PhD) of the University of KwaZulu-Natal (SA). She did her MSc at the University of Melbourne (Australia) and BSc at Moi University.  In addition, she carried out her postgraduate studies at Gottingen University, Germany. 

She has mentored 30 postgraduate students (both MSc and PhD), carrying out research in biological control of insect vectors of plant and animals using grants that she has received individually and together with other researchers from various institutions. She has published widely in this area. One of her achievements is the development of environmentally friendly Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) that is fed to chicken to help rid poultry houses of nuisance flies. 

She is an established researcher in the area of biological control of insect pests having developed biological control methods for the fall armyworm and the tomato leaf miner, and recently won a National Research Grant for biopesticides formulation and development against the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria. An achievement that will see the University of Eldoret lead a team of researchers from other institutions in a biopesticide development consortium.

She has participated various trainings including NACOSTI Research Ethics that has led to her leading a team to develop of the University of Research Ethics policy. Other trainings include Strategic Leadership, Intellectual Property Management and Increasing the Development Impact of Agricultural Research. She has also participated several mentorship programmes including the New York Academy of Science 1000 girls 1000 futures, INASP Research writing, Akili DADA. 

She is a recipient of several scholarships and grants including Equity and Merit Australian Government Scholarship, Commonwealth Scholarship, British Council Fellowship, Organization for Women in Science in the Developing World Fellowship, The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) – DFG fellowship, National Research grant, American Society for Microbiology Course for Undergraduate Educators (ASMCUE) Leadership Grant for International Educators, Australia Awards Africa and The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) Research Grants.

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