The machine is the result of a cooperative research and development agreement involving U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) scientists and Southeastern Insectaries, Inc., of Perry, Ga.
The Heterorhabditis and Steinernema nematodes being used can infect and kill a wide array of insect crop pests, including Japanese beetles, vine weevils, root borers and fungus gnats. About 10 years ago, entomologist David Shapiro-Ilan and colleagues with USDA's Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University showed that the nematodes performed best when applied in the dead bodies of the insect hosts used to mass-produce them. Pest control is then achieved by the nematode progeny that emerge from the insect cadavers. ARS is USDA's principal intramural scientific research agency.
A technical hurdle that's kept the insect-cadaver approach from gaining widespread commercial acceptance is the tendency of some commonly used host insects to rupture or stick together during storage, transport and application.
Southeastern Insectaries owner Louis Tedders came up with a solution, namely, packaging the insects in masking tape. He also devised a prototype device to automate the process, which ARS scientists Juan Morales-Ramos and Guadalupe Rojas in Stoneville, Miss., subsequently refined.
Using off-the-shelf parts, for example, they built a device to mechanically sort mealworms by size, with the biggest ones chosen for placement in shallow dishes where nematodes could infect them. After a few days, a mechanical arm reaches in and places the dead, infected mealworms between strips of masking tape at the rate of one insect every two seconds. Eventually, an entire roll is formed, allowing for easy storage, transport and application to pest-infested soils.
Shapiro-Ilan's laboratory tests of the insect-cadaver taping system showed no adverse effects on the nematodes' survival and pest-control ability. Indeed, 15 days after application, nematodes from the taped cadavers killed up to 78 percent of small hive beetles and 91 percent of root weevils used in the tests.
Read more about this research in the November-December 2011 issue of Agricultural Research magazine.
Jan Suszkiw | EurekAlert!
New 3-D model predicts best planting practices for farmers
26.06.2017 | Carl R. Woese Institute for Genomic Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge
3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects
A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...
Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.
For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...
What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.
To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...
The research team of Prof. Dr. Oliver Einsle at the University of Freiburg's Institute of Biochemistry has long been exploring the functioning of nitrogenase....
A one trillion tonne iceberg - one of the biggest ever recorded -- has calved away from the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica, after a rift in the ice,...
21.07.2017 | Event News
19.07.2017 | Event News
12.07.2017 | Event News
24.07.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering
24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.07.2017 | Materials Sciences