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Entomopathogenic Nematodes in Biological Control


Commercial Production and Development, in Entomopathogenic Nematodes in Biological Control

Tech Area / Field

  • ENV-EHS/Environmental Health and Safety/Environment
  • AGR-PPR/Plant Protection/Agriculture
  • BIO-IND/Industrial Biotechnology/Biotechnology

3 Approved without Funding

Registration date

Leading Institute
Georgian Academy of Sciences / Institute of Zoology, Georgia, Tbilisi


  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada / Chercheur Scientifique, Phytopathology, Canada, PE, Charlottetown\nUniversita’ di Catania, Italy, Catania\nUniversity of California / Department of Nematology, USA, CA, Davis\nLaurentian University, Canada, ON, Sudbury

Project summary

This envisaged project aims at developing a novel plant protection system for obtaining of ecologically pure agriculture production by using of environmentally safe means - to control of main insect pests. Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) of the genera Steinernema and Heterorhabditis (Nematoda: Rhabditida) considered as excellent insect biological control agents. They possess a great number of advantages including their broad host range, safety to non-target organisms and the environment, ease of mass-production and application against various insect pests, ability to search for pests, rapid host mortality; in addition to this, they are amenable to genetic selection and DNA transformation. Finally, EPNs are better able to compete with most chemicals used in agriculture. From a commercial standpoint, the production of a durable infective stage (IJ) and the simbiotic association with a lethal bacterium are the two most attractive features of steinernematid and heterorhabditid nematodes.

These positive attributes and need to find alternative methods of pest control to chemical insecticides have led to the rapid commercialization of the nematodes.The progress is the EPNs are already available in many countries, e.g. the USA, Italy, Germany, France, Switzerland, China, etc.

The main objectives of the suggested project is:

  • To implement the biomethod against insect pests in Georgia;
  • Development of the biological pest control by using of ecologically clean and safe formulations of entomopathogenic nematodes in agroecosystems;

This method will enable to exclude the chemical preparations, to improve biologically based management of important insect pests; we propose the following specific objectives:
  • To compare existing commercial microbial insect control formulation with EPNs isolates for agriculture;
  • To field test, demonstrate and teach the economical use of EPNs microbial controls to Georgian farmers and managers.

The project pursues a novel approach to processing of environmentally friendly, means EPNs for biological plant protection in agricultural ecosystems as a part of Integrated Pest Management (IPM) system for obtaining of the ecologically pure production in closer environment. The ecological pure agricultural product is a very important social problem.

The given project belongs to the category of applied researches, which determines the character of research and results. After completion of our work it will be possible to recommend the biological method of pest control for its implementation in agricultural practice.

Description of concrete tasks used in the designated technological process:

On stage I, under the conditions of natural ecosystems, with the help of traps will be discovered and collected soil-living entomonematodes and entomopathogenic nematodes. Material will be identified, if an unknown species is discovered, it will be described according to the rules of zoological nomenclature and the new species will appear in international publications. In case of the discovery of new strain of the familiar species it will also be identified.

In order to state the criteria of a discovered new nematodes species, it is necessary to use a scanning electron microscope to define specific properties of the morphological structure of species.

The chromosome content of nematodes will be determined by the method of caryosistematics. In addition to this, enzyme activity and protein electrophoresis will be studied. In both cases further research will be carried out in laboratory conditions.

On stage II, will be performed possibility of nematode cultivation on various media (use in vivo and in vitro methods), in different temperature conditions. Based on obtained experience, will be chosen more economical and effective media for mass reproduction of EPNs; Use Galleria Mellonella, Tenebrio molotor and Bombyx mori as feeding media The vitality of cultures of biology and culture preservation dates, assessment lipid, stored energy reserves and quality will be specified. Will be elaborate preservation methods of the nematode suspension, and transportation methods of invasive material with a minimum loss.

On stage III, tests on the effect of nematodes on target-insects with different doses and at various stages of host development will be performed in laboratory conditions. Most suitable effective doses and most suitable conditions for affecting insects will be chosen.

On stage IV, the formulation will be tested in field conditions and on plots. The effectiveness of the formulation will be estimated and the waste per 1 hectare will be defined.

All the work will be carried out according to the above-mentioned stages and will be fulfilled by one team. The work will be arranged in the form of a timetable, as it deals with the period of insect activity. The work will be carried out during all seasons of the year. The obtained data will be processed according to statistics.

The project results will give us the possibility to apply EPNs for biocontrol insect pests of agricultural plants. The biological method will promote protection of nature from pollution by insecticides. Development and implementation formulations of EPNs in agriculture will improve the quality of production of ecologically pure products and will enhance income stability. Project results will be presented to official State institutions (Ministry of Agriculture, Plant Protection Service, Ministry of Health, etc.).

Further field research is required to fully explore the potential of the biological plant protection system to be developed. It is anticipated that the system will find a broader distribution as important item in the Georgia, this will be performed by the end-users in environments such as biological control by using of EPNs.

  • Project realization will enable to decrease expenses chemical preparations on pest control,
  • Will provide the development of mass production of EPNs and establish a cottage industry.


The International Science and Technology Center (ISTC) is an intergovernmental organization connecting scientists from Kazakhstan, Armenia, Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, and Georgia with their peers and research organizations in the EU, Japan, Republic of Korea, Norway and the United States.


ISTC facilitates international science projects and assists the global scientific and business community to source and engage with CIS and Georgian institutes that develop or possess an excellence of scientific know-how.

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