Entomopathogenic Nematodes for the Control of Crop Pests

  • S. S. Hussaini


Growing public concern over ill effects of chemical pesticides, particularly ground water including food chain contamination, resistance development in target organism and threat to Human beings and wild life has fuelled an intense search for safer alternatives of pest management. The use of natural enemies, particularly parasitoids and insect pathogens, as biological insecticides has been considered by many to be the most viable pest management alternative, being environmentally safe, and as an essential component of sustainable agriculture. The annual growth rate in chemical insecticides production and use is 1–2% whereas that of microbial insecticides 10–25% (Ahmed and Leather, 1994). Nematodes associated with insects, referred to as entomophilic, entomogenous or ‘entomopathogenic’ are known to parasitize, cause disease and kill the insects. The entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) are potential biocontrol agents, besides serving as vectors of bacteria. There are presently 60 laboratories in 38 countries working on EPNs and the number is growing every day. The explosion of interest since mid — 1980’s is an impressive attributes to this technology. EPNs are ubiquitously distributed and comprise two families: Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae. The families are not closely related phylogenetically but share similarities due to convergent evolution. Despite their lethality to insects, lack of pathogenicity to mammals led US EPA to exempt all strains and species belonging to Steinernema and Heterorhabditis and their associated bacteria from registration requirements under the Federal Insecticide Fungicide Rodenticide Act (FIFRA). Although many EPNs are recorded as naturally occurring on insects, detailed studies on bionomics and mass multiplication of these nematodes have not been attempted (David et al., 1994). Reports on most entomophilic nematodes in India stand up to generic level only. Attempts have been made to study the biology of the following entomogenous nematodes: Panagrolaimus migophilus and Pelodera sp. (Geetha Bai and Sankaran, 1985); Parasitylenchus coccinella (Reddy and Rao, 1987); H. crassirostris (Yatham and Rao, 1981); Protrellus chauhani (Rao, 1980). A brief introduction about important families of EPNs is as under:


Biological Control Entomopathogenic Nematode Infective Juvenile Progeny Production Japanese Beetle 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2002

Authors and Affiliations

  • S. S. Hussaini
    • 1
  1. 1.Project Directorate of Biological ControlBangaloreIndia

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