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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Mass Production of Entomopathogenic Nematodes

Authors
item Ehlers, Ralf-Udo - UNIV. OF KIEL, GERMANY
item Shapiro Ilan, David

Submitted to: Nematodes as Biological Control Agents
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: January 21, 2004
Publication Date: December 7, 2005
Citation: Ehlers, R-U., Shapiro Ilan, D.I. 2005. Mass production of entomopathogenic nematodes. In Grewal, P., Ehlers, R-U., Shapiro-Ilan, D. (eds.) Nematodes as Biological Control Agents. p. 65-79. CABI Publishing.

Interpretive Summary: Entomopathogenic nematodes are small round worms that are used as environmentally friendly bioinsecticides. These nematodes kill insects with the help of bacteria that are kept inside the nematode until it enters its prey. This chapter reviews significant research on mass production of entomopathogenic nematodes. These nematodes can be produced by growing them in insects (such as waxmoth or mealworm larvae) or by fermentation. Fermentation methods include solid (growing nematodes on crumbled foam), or liquid (in large fermentation tanks). Growing the menatodes in insects can be costly, but methods to reduce labor might expand the attractiveness of the approach. Successful fermentation depends on maintaining sterile conditions and a solid understanding of the biology of the nematode and their bacteria. Liquid fermentation is currently the most prominent method of production.

Technical Abstract: Entomopathogenic nematodes in the genera Steinernema and Heterorhabditis are small round worms that are used as environmentally friendly bioinsecticides. These nematodes kill insects with the aid of mutualistic bacteria that are kept inside the nematode gut until host entry. This chapter reviews significant research on mass production of entomopathogenic nematodes. The nematodes can be mass-produced using in vivo or in vitro (solid and liquid fermentation) methods. In vivo production yields depend on the host insect, inoculation parameters, and environmental conditions. In vivo production is costly due to labor and insect cost, but may be improved through automation or direct application of infected hosts. Liquid fermentation is currently the most prominent method of production. Succesful liquid production depends on maintaining sterile conditions, control of bioreactor parameters and maximizing nematode recovery.

Last Modified: 4/18/2014