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The application of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) is generally done using standard spray application techniques. However, in contrast to chemical pesticides, these biological antagonists must remain viable during and after the application process. For the application of EPN, a good agitation system is indispensable as the nematodes tend to sediment fast in a spray tank without agitation. Three agitation systems, viz. mechanical, pneumatic and hydraulic agitation were tested for their ability to keep Steinernema carpocapsae (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae) suspended in an undamaged way. Hydraulic agitation was tested using a centrifugal and a diaphragm pump. Nematode damage was quantified based on viability and infectivity of the EPN. The ability of the agitation system to keep the nematodes in suspension was examined by comparing the nematode concentration observed in the samples taken at different agitation times. Only the hydraulic agitation using the centrifugal pump damaged the nematodes. After 120 min of recirculation, only 19.3% of the nematodes survived. Infectivity was even reduced to 0%. An additional experiment revealed that the temperature rise, from 21.7 to 45.4°C, was responsible for the observed nematode damage. The concentration measurements showed that the pneumatic agitation was unstable. Agitation during 120 min using the other agitation systems resulted in a significant loss of nematodes at 15 cm above the spray tank bottom. In conclusion, mechanical and hydraulic agitation using a diaphragm pump can be recommended when S. carpocapsae is applied, although attention should be paid to possible nematode loss during application.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBiocontrol Science and Technology
Volume20
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)339-351
Number of pages13
ISSN0958-3157
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

ID: 191844