NPLK14015U Biological Control of Pests

Volume 2014/2015
Erasmus Mundus - Agris Mundus
MSc Programme in Agriculture

General part:

The course will include all four strategies for biological control of pests: classical, inoculation, inundation, and conservation. The major groups of organisms used in biological control will be presented: their ecology, life cycles, mechanisms of action etc. Organisms considered include predators, parasitoids, microorganisms, nematodes, vertebrates. Methods for isolation and selection of biological control organisms as well as application methods will be discussed. Also included are activity levels of biological control agents following application to the crop and release into the environment. 

Key words:
Natural regulation of pests
Commercially available biocontrol products and their use
Risk assessment of biological control organisms, legislation and BCA registration.
Ethical aspects and public acceptance.
Cases on practical application of biological control within agriculture, horticulture, forestry, husbandry, urban environment and other managed landscapes.

Experimental part

The students will perform a limited set of experiments related to biological control. Examples are:

* Characterization of insect pathogenic fungi
* Insect prey and insect predator interactions (behaviour etc)
* Action of insect parasitic nematodes
* Bio-assays using microorganisms for biological control

A limited treatment of data and discussion in relation to relevant literature will be included in the student report

Learning Outcome

After completition of the course the students are able to:

* Describe and understand the strategies used in biological control
* Know and characterize the main types of organisms used for or of future potential for biological control
* Describe methods used for diagnostics, isolation, characterization, bio-assays and field experiments of relevance for biological control


* Ability to select an organism for biological control in a specified system
* Ability to select relevant methods to study the interactions between biocontrol organism, target host and environment
* Ability to analyse and decide about potential risks using biological control both in a specified system and in a more general context
* Ability to use scientific literature to discuss own data


* Ability to transfer the knowledge into other decision processes about multitrophic interactions of ecological relevance
* Ability to perform and analyse experimental work including two or three organisms
* Ability to transfer the knowledge into other decision processes involving cross diciplinary elements, for example: biology, managed systems, and ethics

Hajek, A., 2004: Natural enemies. Cambridge University Press

Kompendium material/photocopies of scientific articles

Manuals for practicals

Basic knowledge about applied entomology and microbiology is advised
The teaching and learning methods will include: Lectures: overview of strategies, organisms involved, history of biocontrol, methodologies. Theoretical exercises involving: discussion of orginal scientific literature with emphasis on conceptual elements, biology of involved organisms and case studies of practical application. Practicals: limited experimental work in teams, by selecting from a set of options. The experiments should be performed by setting up hypothesis for discussion. The options include for example: Interaction between predator and prey, natural occurence of insect pathogenic fungi and nematodes, bio-assays using microorganisms, characterization of biocontrol organisms, bioimaging of infection processes. Colloquia: The participants decide with the main teacher about content and form of colloquia. Supervision: each team in the laboratory will be supervised concerning methodology, data collection and treatment and discussion. Preparation: for theoretical excercises, colloquia and practicals, preparation (literature reading) is needed.
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Colloquia
  • 10
  • Exam
  • 6
  • Guidance
  • 10
  • Lectures
  • 25
  • Practical exercises
  • 60
  • Preparation
  • 75
  • Theory exercises
  • 20
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral defence, 15 min under invigilation
The exam will consist of individual 15 min oral presentation of main results and perspectives of parts of experimental work. Each student will thereafter be asked questions directly related to the presentation and questions related to the the overall curriculum of the course
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Én intern bedømmer
Exam period
Week after Blok 2
Criteria for exam assesment

Grades are given based on overall fullfillment of course curriculum.