1. ....... the pathogenicity of Beauveria spp. against N. lugens.

  2. ........biocontrol agents against brown planthopper

*The context is microbiology.

I'm always confused in using against properly. Can I just use on for those sentences?

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Can I just use on for those sentences?

The phrase "the effects of these biocontrol agents against brown planthoppers" appears similar to the phrase "the effect of pesticides on pests", where "on" would be a neutral word (the pesticides could harm the pests, or help them, or have no effect), whereas the word "against" definitely implies antagonism, and indicates the agent is designed to exterminate the planthoppers, because it is "against" them. You may choose which meaning you prefer to convey.

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  • The same rule can be applied to sentence no.1 for the same consideration? – learning Jul 30 '18 at 1:44
  • @learning , you have a point. In sentence no. 1, pathogenicity is antagonistic and should be used with "against". Otherwise it would be like replacing "fighting against" with "fighting on", which is wrong. It should be "fighting against". Thus, the choice of "on" versus "against" has to be decided on a case by case basis... – Sam Jul 30 '18 at 6:55
  • +1 @sam It's clear now. – learning Jul 30 '18 at 12:57

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