African Journal of
Agricultural Research

  • Abbreviation: Afr. J. Agric. Res.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 1991-637X
  • DOI: 10.5897/AJAR
  • Start Year: 2006
  • Published Articles: 6863

Full Length Research Paper

Designing factories for nematode-based biological control products for an alternative, environmentally friendly management of soil insect pests

Keith A. Holmes
  • Keith A. Holmes
  • CABI, Rue des Grillons 1, CH - 2800 Delémont, Switzerland.
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Jinghua Chen
  • Jinghua Chen
  • Lvbenyuan Biotechnology Company Ltd, Guangdong Entomological Institute, Xingang Road West 105, CN - 510260 Guangzhou, People’s Republic of China.
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Franz Bollhalder
  • Franz Bollhalder
  • Andermatt Biocontrol AG, Stahlermatten 6, CH - 6146 Grossdietwil, Switzerland.
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Un Sil Ri
  • Un Sil Ri
  • Department of Plant Protection, Ministry of Agriculture, Pyongyang, Jungsongdong, Central District, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.
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Bancy Waweru
  • Bancy Waweru
  • Rwanda Agricultural Board, Southern Zone Agricultural Division, P. O. Box 138, Huye, Republic of Rwanda.
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Hongmei Li
  • Hongmei Li
  • Chinese Ministry of Agriculture - CABI Joint Laboratory for Biosafety, Institute of Plant Protection, Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Yuanmingyuan Western Road 2, CN - 100193 Beijing; People’s Republic of China.
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Stefan Toepfer
  • Stefan Toepfer
  • CABI, Rue des Grillons 1, CH - 2800 Delémont, Switzerland.
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  •  Received: 18 September 2015
  •  Accepted: 16 October 2015
  •  Published: 03 December 2015


Soil insects are a major source of crop loss in tropical, subtropical and temperate zones. Many soil insecticides are either/or highly toxic to humans, have serious other non-target effects, or are a banned from use nationally or internationally. An alternative strategy is the use of beneficial (entomopathogenic) nematodes as they are well-adapted to the soil environment and non-toxic. However, the establishment of locally adapted mass production systems for beneficial nematodes requires considerable technological development effort and time. We therefore analyzed the design of 16 in-vitro semi-solid, 3 in-vivo and 2 combined in-vitro + in-vivo nematode production factories from Rwanda, Switzerland, PR China, DPR Korea, to provide an understanding of the rationale behind factory site selection, as well as external and internal factory designs. The factories should, regardless of the production method, consist of at least six rooms in one building. Their allocation depends on the work-flow, insulation of cultures and storage, as well as on separations to avoid cross-contaminations. Our findings propose optimal standard designs for nematode mass production factories and give insight into steps for planning their establishment. This information will be vital to support the dissemination of such technologies to other locations in-country, or to new countries, with the ultimate aim to more safely control soil pests.


Key words: Biological pest control, entomopathogenic/ entomoparasitic nematodes, technology transfer/exchange, East Africa, East Asia.