Entomopathogenic nematodes update June 2015

The entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, used as a biocontrol agent, is commercially produced on a large scale (>50,000 l per tank). After production, infective dauer juveniles need to be separated from the liquid substrate for further storage and delivery to the farmers. The large scale processing of nematodes demands that viability and infectivity of the harvested infective dauer juveniles is preserved. For this, an optimized standing operating procedure for downstream processing is required. For the harvest of infective dauer juveniles, the standard downstream process includes three main steps: separation, washing and transfer. The separation process is considered critical because of the influence of the shear forces in the viability of the final product.

Nematode separation devices

On the course of the project, BIOCOMES partner E-nema compared the performance of two separation devices developed by different companies: a centrifugal disc separator and a decanter. One of the devices, the decanter showed the best results on separating the infective dauer juveniles from the liquid substrate.

More competitive

The market for entomopathogenic nematodes is increasing continuously which leads to investment in larger bioreactor volumes. The establishment of a better technology for the downstream processing will enable an upscaling of the production process at much lower cost and thus will make entomopathogenic nematodes more competitive compared to chemical insecticides.

Read more about our activities on entomopathogenic nematodes

Picture: Nematode production facilities

Author

Ralf-Udo Ehlers
Ralf-Udo Ehlers
Production and storage of nematodes
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