Escape of Steinernema feltiae from Alginate Capsules Containing Tomato Seeds


  • Harry K. Kaya
  • Catharine M. Mannion
  • T. M. Burlando
  • C. E. Nelsen


The entomogenous nematode Steinernemafeltiae was encapsulated in an alginate matrix containing a tomato seed. When these capsules were placed on 0.8% agar for 7 days, the seed germinated and ca. 20% of the nematodes escaped from the capsules, whereas only 0.1% escaped from capsules without seeds. When capsules containing nematodes and a seed were planted into sterilized or nonsterilized soil, nematodes escaped to infect Galleria mellonella larvae. When seed in capsules containing ca. 274 nematodes per capsule were planted in nonsterilized soil, Galleria mortality was 90% 1 week later. Galleria mortality declined to 27%, 23%, and 0% in weeks 2, 4, and 8 postplant, respectively. In sterilized soil, Galleria mortality was 96% and did not differ significantly from the nonsterilized soil in week 1, but was significantly higher in sterilized soil over nonsterilized soil for week 2 (81%) and week 4 (51%). When capsules containing nematodes only were used, Galleria mortality was 71% in sterilized soil 1 week after planting and 58%, 33%, and 12% in weeks 2, 4, and 8 postplant, respectively. In nonsterilized soil, Galleria mortality was 8%, 30%, 21%, and 28% after 1, 2, 4, and 8 weeks, respectively, using only encapsulated nematodes. When the number of nematodes per capsule was increased to ca. 817, Galleria mortality was 92 % or higher in sterilized soil from week 1 to week 4. Key words: biological control, calcium alginate, Galleria mellonella, Neoaplectana, sodium alginate, Steinernema feltiae, tomato.