Insect pests cause serious damage to important cultivated crops. In the last few decades, chemical control is widely adopted for management of these insect pests. However, dependence on pesticides is not sustainable because of associated environmental problems, development of resistance to insects, insecticides and outbreak of secondary pests. Hence there is a need to identify suitable alternative methods for the management of insect pests and among them, entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) are considered to be potential biological control agents against insect pests and the use of EPN has now become an integral part of insect pest management. Entomopathogenic nematodes have been developed as biocontrol agents on a commercial level for the control insect pests. They are currently being produced by several companies in Asia, Europe, and North America and at least 13 different EPN species have reached commercial development, application and sales. The limitation of the short shelf-life of EPN seriously hampers the survival of infective juveniles of nematode formulations. Oxygen and moisture are critical factors in storing of EPN in formulation for a longer time. There is a need to develop an EPN formulation with extended shelf-life and storage potential at tropical temperatures where in the nematode viability and infectivity should be maintained with survival rate more than 90 percent.
- Though the EPN are excellent bio agent their poor storage is a major obstacle in using EPN as a potential bio agent.
- Significant progress was made in developing EPN formulations with enhanced nematode storage stability.
- This present ICAR-SBI EPN formulation is first of its kind in a unique combination of carrier materials with talc powder to attain a longer shelf life with viable infective nematode juveniles (IJs) of EPN by providing adequate aeration and moisture
- The formulation containing Heterorhabditis indica has a shelf life of nine months with 92% survival of nematodes at a temperature range of 30±5°C.
- The formulation containing Steinernemaglaseri has a shelf life of 12 months with 90% survival of nematodes at a temperature range of 30±5°C.
- The EPN formulation caused mortality of the insect larvae of coleopteran white grub Holortrichia serrata and lepidopteron wax moth larvae Galleria mellonella
Successful control of white grub under field conditions obtained with ICAR-SBI EPN formulation.