Optimization of Inoculation for In Vivo Production of Entomopathogenic Nematodes


  • David I. Shapiro-Ilan
  • Randy Gaugler
  • W. Louis Tedders
  • Ian Brown
  • Edwin E. Lewis


culture, heterorhabditis bacteriophora, in vivo, production, steinernema carpocapsae


Entomopathogenic nematodes are potent biopesticides that can be mass-produced by in vitro or in vivo methods. For in vivo production, consistently high infection rates are critical to efficiency of the process. Our objective was to optimize in vivo inoculation of Steinernema carpocapsae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora in Galleria mellonella and Tenebrio molitor by determining effects of inoculation method, nematode concentration, and host density. We found immersing hosts in a nematode suspension to be approximately four times more efficient in time than pipeting inoculum onto the hosts. The number of hosts exhibiting signs of nematode infection increased with nematode concentration and decreased with host density per unit area. This is the first report indicating an effect of host density on inoculation efficiency. We did not detect an effect of nematode inoculum concentration on nematode yield per host or per gram of host. Yield was affected by host density in one of the four nematode-host combinations (S. carpocapsae and T. molitor). We conclude that optimization of inoculation parameters is a necessary component of developing an in vivo production system for entomopathogenic nematodes.