Entomopathogenic Nematode Production and Application Technology

David I. Shapiro-Ilan, Richou Han, Claudia Dolinksi


Production and application technology is critical for the success of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) in biological control. Production approaches include in vivo, and in vitro methods (solid or liquid fermentation). For laboratory use and small scale field experiments, in vivo production of EPNs appears to be the appropriate method. In vivo production is also appropriate for niche markets and small growers where a lack of capital, scientific expertise or infrastructure cannot justify large investments into in vitro culture technology. In vitro technology is used when large scale production is needed at reasonable quality and cost. Infective juveniles of entomopathogenic nematodes are usually applied using various spray equipment and standard irrigation systems. Enhanced efficacy in EPN applications can be facilitated through improved delivery mechanisms (e.g., cadaver application) or optimization of spray equipment. Substantial progress has been made in recent years in developing EPN formulations, particularly for above ground applications, e.g., mixing EPNs with surfactants or polymers or with sprayable gels. Bait formulations and insect host cadavers can enhance EPN persistence and reduce the quantity of nematodes required per unit area. This review provides a summary and analysis of factors that affect production and application of EPNs and offers insights for their future in biological insect suppression.

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