subjec t much older than the science of microbiology. In fact the first records go back to Aristotle's description of a pest affecting honey bees. In the last century, first Bassi (reviewed in 74) and Disease in insects is a classical 0066-4227/87/1001-0103$02. 00 BOMAN & HULTMARK then Pasteur (reviewed in 24) settled the nature of two diseases in silkworms; these were pioneering studies, since they were the first cases in which diseases were shown to be caused by microbes. These early investigations were motivated by the economic importance of the silk industry and the losses caused by diseases of silkworms. An important aspect of insect pathogens is their use as agents for biological control of insect pests. Many different microorganisms have been used for this purpose, but Bacillus thuringiensis is without comparison the organism that has found the most applications. There is vast literature on biological control of insects (14), insect pathogenic bacteria (64), and B. thuringiensis (6). The number of insects is very impressive. Nearly one million species are recorded, and estimates indicate that the number of individual insects at a given time may be as high as 1018 ( 1 12). These high numbers imply that
Annual Review of Microbiology – Annual Reviews
Published: Oct 1, 1987
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