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Diana Carolina Núñez-López, Augusto Ramírez-Godoy and Hermann Restrepo-Díaz

The bean crop is of great importance for human consumption as a source of protein. One of the most limiting insect pests of this crop in Colombia is the whitefly, Trialeurodes vaporariorum (Westwood). Currently, various nonchemical pest control alternatives for cleaner production are being sought. This study aimed to determine the influence of kaolin on the development of populations of whitefly in greenhouses, and its effect on the physiological characteristics of the bean crop [Phaseolus vulgaris (L.)]. This work was conducted in the greenhouses of the Universidad Nacional de Colombia, in Bogotá. Three experiments were carried out and four treatments were evaluated: 1) control (without any insecticide), 2) synthetic chemical insecticides, and foliar applications of kaolin at 3) 2.5%, and 4) 5% (W/V). Generally, the results showed a high percentage of efficacy (≈91%) on whitefly control in plants treated with 5% kaolin, compared with the plants not treated with insecticides in the three different experiments. In addition, foliar applications of kaolin decreased transpiration by 40% and enhanced by 43% the contents of leaf chlorophyll without affecting bean yield. In conclusion, the use of kaolin particle can be considered as an alternative tool in a program of agricultural management on the bean crop since it can control a high percentage of whitefly and it may help the plant physiology, especially under conditions of abiotic stress such as drought stress.