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Protecting Pecans with Friendly Fungi

Shelled and unshelled pecans.

On July 1, 1930, ARS began its pecan research and breeding program in Austin, TX. Their efforts helped the United States became the world’s leading producer of pecans with a crop estimated to be worth over $560 million.

Now, scientists at the ARS Fruit and Tree Nut Research Station in Byron, GA, and research partners at Fort Valley State University and University of Georgia have developed newer and smarter ways to protect this beloved crop.

The team identified two “friendly fungi,” Beauveria bassiana and Metarhizium brunneum. Both fungi can control economically damaging insects like pecan weevils, aphids, and stink bugs. There is also a correlation between those fungi and the growth of the plants they’re applied to, leading to increased plant height, number of leaves, and root length.

Read a longer article to learn more.