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Collaboration proposal: towards optimisation of the microbiome of nematodes

Developing the use of entomopathogenic nematodes in biocontrol: towards optimisation of their microbiome

microbiome of nematodes
Updated on 11/15/2018
Published on 09/19/2018

Context

Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) are used as agents for the biocontrol of insect pests . Taking the example of EPNs belonging to the Steinernema genus, we have shown that as well as being associated in a stable manner with the symbiotic bacterium Xenorhabdus (responsible for the pathogenic potential of the nematodes), infectious juvenile forms are also associated with around a dozen other bacterial species, including some that are known to be beneficial to plant health. The industrial process used to produce EPNs is based on the separate multiplication of axenic nematodes and symbiotic bacteria, followed by their reassociation at the end of the process. Our preliminary data showed a difference in composition between the microbiota of commercial and natural or laboratory EPNs. This factor probably influences the insecticidal efficacy of commercial EPNs.

Objective

We propose to work on developing "next generation" EPNs which have a bacterial microbiota that is more similar to that of natural EPNs in order toenhance their insecticide potential. The following steps are envisaged for this development:

  • Characterise the composition of the microbiota of EPNs from commercial batches compared with natural samples,
  • Develop a procedure for the reassociation of axenic EPNs and bacterial strains of interest,
  • Evaluate the insecticide efficacy of "next generation” EPNs,
  • Broaden the concept to other EPNs.

We therefore hope to improve the insecticide potential of entomopathogenic nematodes by modulating their bacterial microbiota.

Collaboration proposal

INRA is seeking an industrial partner to work on the association between EPNs and bacterial strains of agronomic interest in order to produce "new generation" EPNs that are more effective in controlling crop pests at larval stages, and notably those living in the soil.

Contacts

Scientific contact:

  • Jean-Claude Ogier
    INRA-Université de Montpellier Joint Research Unit for Diversity, Genomes and Microbe/Insect Interactions (UMR1333, DGIMI)
    2 place Eugène Bataillon - Bât 24
    34095 Montpellier
    Occitanie-Montpellier Research Centre
    Lead Division: Plant Health and Environment Division (SPE)

Partnership contact: