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Entomopathogenic nematodes

Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) belong to the family Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae

They are microscopic roundworms (300 µm to 1.2 mm), naturally present in soils in the infective juvenile stage (IJ). Their frequency and abundance vary according to environmental variables, physico-chemical soil conditions, the presence of insects and plant cover. Nematodes hunt insect larvae by lying in wait or moving to depths of 80 cm. These nematodes live in symbiosis with bacteria in their digestive tract. They are obligate parasites of insects. They develop and multiply at the expense of the latter, causing their death.

They are used as biological control agents. Several species are industrially produced (Koppert, Biobest, E-Nema...) and marketed in several countries to control banana weevil, palm butterfly, some ornamental crop pests, etc.


However, the current market essentially targets specific commercial niches (organic sector, etc.) and few applications concern pests of large cereal or vegetable crops.

Life cycle of entomopathogenic nematodes

A free phase in the soil & a parasitic development phase in the insect
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Evolutionary history of EPNs

Nematodes that emerged 375 million years ago
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How to capture entomopathogenic nematodes?

Entomopathogenic nematodes in soils are trapped using prey insects.
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