What is Bacillus thuringiensis? | Gardening On

Image of Bacillus thuringiensis

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When we talk about bacteria, many people tend to immediately think that these microorganisms are harmful, but The reality is that, like everything in life, there are species that are certainly very dangerous and others that are very positive.. In fact, we ourselves would not be alive if it weren’t for the 40 billion that live inside our body, compared to the 30 billion cells that are our own.

Plants, like us, can benefit a lot from the positive ones, especially from the Bacillus thuringiensis. Surely you have ever heard it mentioned or have found it for sale in nurseries but you do not know exactly what it is or what it is for. But that’s what we are here for, to solve all your doubts .

What is Bacillus thuringiensis?

It is a Gram positive bacteria (that is, it is stained dark blue or violet by Gram stain -crystal / violet-). It is protected by a very thick membrane of peptidoglycan and acetylmuramic acid, which forms a special mesh called a murein saccule that preserves its shape and stiffens the bacterial cell (if it were not, the cell would burst). What’s more has several flagella presentwhich are filaments thanks to which the bacteria can move.

Why is it a good insecticide?

Tomato caterpillar

tomato caterpillar

The Bacillus thunringiensis multiplies by spores, and when it does forms crystals popularly known as protein crystals that have insecticidal action against beetles, nematodes, bed bugs, flies and mosquitoes and lepidopteran larvae. Now, there are several strains that are capable of controlling other insects.

Thus, we have:

  • B. thuringiensis var aizawaiGardama, tomato caterpillar, cabbage donut, black donut, bean moth, olive moth, leek moth, tomato measurer, plusia, cotton spiny caterpillar and gray worms.
  • B. thuringiensis var. Israeli: controls the genera Aedes, Anopheles, Culex, Culiseta, Orthocladius, Tipula and Smulium.
  • B. thuringiensis var. kurstaki: grapevine pyral, cabbage white butterfly, corn borer, soybean worm, tomato miner, gray worm, almond tree caterpillar and moths (of the cluster, of the peach tree, of the cabbage and of the olive tree).

Not all that glitters is gold

Yes, it is a good insecticide. But there is always a but) there is a risk that the insect will generate resistance to the product and, therefore, that Bacillus thuriengensis stops having the desired effect and, therefore, we have to exceed the recommended dose, something that should not be done.

Even so, it may be interesting to try it.

What is Bacillus thuringiensis? | Gardening On

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