Hydrocapsules as Trojan horses for the application of biological control agents against root pests
Project responsable Ted Turlings
Team member Jaffuel Geoffrey
Abstract This project’s ultimate objective is to develop a novel, cost-effective method for the release of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) as biological control against soil-dwelling insect pests. This is done in collaboration with our industrial partner (Andermatt Biocontrol AG) and the Pharmacy Institute at the University of Geneva. We have developed and improved a capsule-based EPN release method that can be used against major soil pests. The latest application vehicles come in the form of beads (with a solid core) that are based on the same technology. The eventual aim is that these capsules become an important Swiss export product.

The project has two main activities:

The identification of a quiescence factor present in root extracts. This factor puts nematodes in a state of dormancy and we aim to use it to prolong the shelf-life of the nematodes in the capsules. The PhD student on this project (Geoffrey Jaffuel) has isolated the active compound(s) and identification is imminent.

The development of a capsule/bead that is strong enough to tolerate transportation and handling. The product should be biodegradable and dissolve within weeks after “planting”, the shell will be impregnated with attractants and feeding stimulants in order to lure in the pest. This work has been conducted by a post-doc (Jinwon Kim), who has developed a novel alginate bead that can hold up to 5000 EPN. Field tests with these beads are currently underway.
Keywords entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN), biological control, quiescence factor, root extracts, alginate bead
Type of project Fundamental research project
Research area Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Method of financing SNSF: National Centres of Competence in Research (NCCRs) Transfer projetcs
Status Completed
Start of project 1-6-2012
End of project 30-9-2015
Overall budget 400’000
Additional info http://p3.snf.ch/project-144621
Contact Thomas Degen