Submitted to: Society of Industrial Microbiology Annual Meeting
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: November 24, 2001
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: Entomopathogenic nematodes (genera: Heterorhabditis and Steinernema) are potent natural insecticides that are capable of suppressing a wide variety of economically important insect pests. A mutualistic relationship exists between the nematodes and their symbiotic bacteria (Xenorhabdus or Photorhabdus) that are carried in the nematode's intestine. The bacteria provide nutrients to the nematodes, produce antibiotics that inhibit secondary invaders, and are primarily responsible for killing the host. The bacteria, however, do not survive well outside of a host and depend on the nematodes for entry into the hemocoel. The nematodes can be mass-produced in vivo or in vitro. In vivo production is accomplished by exposing live insect hosts to the nematodes. In vitro culture is accomplished through solid or liquid fermentation. Media composition is directly related to the quality of nematodes produced; the nematodes are especially sensitive to lipid content. Following production nematodes are formulated for storage and application. Formulations may be divided into those that partially desiccate the nematodes and those that do not. Composition and type of formulation will affect nematode longevity and virulence.