The Effects of Nutrient Concentration, Addition of Thickeners, and Agitation Speed on Liquid Fermentation of Steinernema feltiae

Luis G. Leite, David I. Shapiro-Ilan, Selcuk Hazir, Mark A. Jackson


Entomopathogenic nematode production in liquid fermentation still requires improvements to maximize efficiency, yield, and nematode quality. Therefore, this study was aimed at developing a more suitable liquid medium for mass production of Steinernema feltiae, by assessing the effects of nutrient concentration, thickeners (primarily agar), and agitation speed on infective juvenile (IJ) yield. Base medium (BM) contained yeast extract (2.3%), egg yolk (1.25%), NaCl (0.5%), and corn oil (4%). All media were inoculated with Xenorhabdus bovienii, and 2 d later, with 2-d-old S. feltiae juveniles. For the nutrient concentration experiment, we evaluated the base medium versus a modified base medium containing all the components, but with 33 concentrations of yeast extract (6.9%), egg yolk (3.75%), and corn oil (12%). The nematodes and bacteria were cultured in 150-ml Erlenmeyer flasks containing 50 ml of liquid medium at (258C) and 180 rpm on a rotary shaker incubator. To assess the effect of thickeners, IJs were inoculated in BM with agar (0.2%), carrageen (0.2%), and carboxymethyl cellulose (0.2% and 0.5%). The addition of 33 more nutrients relative to the BM resulted in a significantly lower yield of nematodes. For agar and agitation speed experiments, five levels of agar in the BM (0%, 0.2%, 0.4%, 0.6%, and 0.8% agar) and two agitation speeds (180 and 280 rpm) were evaluated for production. Increasing agitation speed from 180 to 280 rpm and higher levels of agar in the medium (. 0.2%) significantly increased the yield of bacteria. At the lower agitation speed, media amended with 0.4% and 0.6% agar produced higher nematode yields compared to media without agar. Media with 0.2% and 0.8% agar resulted in intermediate levels of nematode production. At the higher agitation speed, media supplemented with 0.8% agar resulted in the lowest yield of nematodes when compared to the other media tested. Results indicated that increasing nutrient concentration levels was detrimental to nematode production. Also, media containing agar (0.4% and 0.6%) increased nematode yields when cultures were grown at low agitation speed. When IJs were used as the inoculum, 0.2% agar also enhanced recovery and nematode yield at the higher agitation speed.

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