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Date
palm (Phoenix dactylifera L.) is one of the oldest cultivated plants
Because of its high nutritional value, productivity and long yield-life (100
years). Date palm is a multi-purpose tree, being highly regarded as a national
heritage in many countries. It provides food, shelter, timber products and all
parts of the palm can be used. Because of these qualities, and its tolerance to
harsh environmental desert conditions, areas under cultivation have increased
tremendously in recent years.

Rhynchophorus
ferrugineus , also known as the invasive Red Palm Weevil (RPW) is one of
the most destructive pests of date palms, the primary fruit tree of arid,
tropical and sub-tropical areas including many Arab Gulf and North Africa
countries. An attack from R. ferrugineus might inflict death of the palm
in 6-8 months and infestation is often not visible until the tree has fallen
down. For years, several control methods have been applied against R.
ferrugineus and other weevil species within the Integrated Pest Management
(IPM) strategy. This integrated approach mainly includes phyto-sanitation,
which involves cutting down and burning of the infested palms, and the use of
insecticides and pheromone traps for adult monitoring and mass trapping. The
use of a broad-spectrum of insecticides implicates a heavy environmental
impact. Therefore, the setting and applicability of alternative control
strategies is of the greatest importance. The development of biocontrol methods
has attracted much interest in the few last years, while several studies have
been conducted on the natural enemies of R. ferrugineus that might be
successfully used as tools for its biological control. Recently, much effort
has been made to identify more effective and safer biological control agents
against several insect pests. Rhynchophorus ferrugineus Olivier
(Coleoptera: Curculionidae) is one of the major pests of palms. The larvae of
the red palm weevil (RPW) bore into the palm trunk and feed on the palm tender
tissues and sap, leading the host tree to death. The gut microbiota of insects
plays a remarkable role in the host life and understanding the relationship
dynamics between insects and their microbiota may improve the biological
control of insect pests. Naturally occurring bio-control agents are alternative
to reverse the use of hazardous synthetic insecticides. Among these
microorganisms, the use of entomopathogenic fungi was found to be promising
alternate for insect’s control. According to an estimate, more than 700 species
of fungi belonging to different genera are known to infect insects. The success
of these naturally occurring microorganisms mainly depends on the host pathogen
interaction. Access of entomopathogenic fungi to invade the host is through the
cuticle that involves complex biochemical interactions between the host and the
pathogen (fungus) before germination, penetration, growth, and reproduction of
the fungus. Prior to host invasion, there are certain characteristics of fungi
that designate them virulent or a virulent.

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The
purpose of this work is to study the most important pathogen (Entomopathogenic
fungi) characteristics and host events that led to the success and failure of
any fungal attack.

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