The Effects of Various Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers on the Density of Entomopathogenic Nematodes Symbiont


  •   Gabby Downs

  •   Devang Upadhyay

  •   Sivanadane Mandjiny

  •   Leonard Holmes


Entomopathogenic nematodes Steinernema carpocapsae and Heterorhabditis bacteriophora and their bacterial symbionts Xenorhabdus nematophila and Photorhabdus luminescens (P. luminescens), represent a specific agricultural niche. The successful integration of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) as regular use biological control agents require specific knowledge and understanding of the adaptation and establishment of applied biological control agents in agricultural ecosystems. For many years, the pest management capabilities of these pathogenic partnerships have been implemented in biological control settings. In this study, ten fertilizers were examined to explore the effects of nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium (NPK) on the production of entomopathogenic bacteria Xenorhabdus nematophila and Photorhabdus luminescens. Laboratory exposure to fertilizer concentrations (0.5-2.5%) was used to determine the production of each bacterial species. Results conclude that P. luminescens are generally more sensitive to fertilizer than X. nematophila. Moreover, fertilizers containing high nitrogen suppressed bacterial densities more readily than those with lesser amounts. This paper summarizes the effects of the three important nutrients found in various concentrations of organic and inorganic fertilizers on entomopathogenic bacteria production.

Keywords: Entomopathogenic Nematodes, Inorganic Fertilizers, Organic Fertilizers, Photorhabdus luminescens, Xenorhabdus nematophila


Upadhyay D., Mandjiny S., Bullard-Dillard R., Storms M., Menefee M., and Holmes L. D. Lab-scale in vitro mass production of the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora using liquid culture fermentation technology. American Journal of Bioscience and Bioengineering, 2015;3(6):203.

Lewis, L. The effect of organic versus chemical fertilizers on insect pathogens. Leopold Center for Sustainable Agriculture, Competitive Grant Report, 1996.

Upadhyay, D., Kooliyottil, R., Mandjiny, S., Inman III, F. L., and Holmes, L. D. Mass production of the beneficial nematode Steinernema carpocapsae utilizing a fed-batch culturing process. International Journal of Phytopathology, 2013; 2(1): 52-58.

Kergunteuil, A., Bakhtiari, M., Formenti, L., Xiao, Z., Defossez, E., and Rasmann, S. Biological Control beneath the Feet: A Review of Crop Protection against Insect Root Herbivores. Insects, 2016;7(4): 70.

Mullens, B. A., Meyer, J. A., and Georgis, R. Field tests of insect-parasitic nematodes (Rhabditida: Steinernematidae, Heterorhabditidae) against larvae of manure-breeding flies (Diptera: Muscidae) on caged-layer poultry facilities. Journal of economic entomology, 1987;80(2):438-442.

Stewart, W. M., Dibb, D. W., Johnston, A. E., and Smyth, T. J. The contribution of commercial fertilizer nutrients to food production. Agronomy journal, 2005;97(1):1-6.

Shapiro, D. I. The effects of fertilizers and earthworms on entomopathogenic nematodes (Doctoral dissertation, Iowa State University). 1994.

Rodriguez-Kabana, R. Organic and inorganic nitrogen amendments to soil as nematode suppressants. Journal of Nematology, 1986;18(2):129.

Bednarek, A., and Gaugler, R. Compatibility of soil amendments with entomopathogenic nematodes. Journal of nematology, 1997;29(2):220–227.

Stock, S. P., Bird, D. M., Ghedin, E., and Godrich-Blair, H. Abstracts of NEMASYM: The Second Nematode-Bacteria Symbioses Research Coordination Network Meeting. Journal of Nematology, 2011;43(1):49.

Gerdes, E., Upadhyay, D., Mandjiny, S., Bullard-Dillard, R., Storms, M., Menefee, M., and Holmes, L. D. Photorhabdus luminescens: virulent properties and agricultural applications. American Journal of Agriculture and Forestry, 2015;3(5):171-177.

Noosidum, A., Hodson, A. K., Lewis, E. E., and Chandrapatya, A. Characterization of new entomopathogenic nematodes from Thailand: foraging behavior and virulence to the greater wax moth, Galleria mellonella L. (Lepidoptera: Pyralidae). Journal of nematology, 2010;42(4):281.

Tess, J. M. Upadhyay, D., Mandjiny S., Dillard R., Frederick, J., and Holmes, L. Mass Production of the Beneficial Nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora on Solid Media Using Solid State Fermentation Technology. International Journal of Agriculture Sciences, 2016;8(55):3029-3031.

Holmes, L., Upadhyay, D., and Mandjiny, S. Biological control of agriculture insect pests. European Scientific Journal, 2016; Special Edition:228-37.

Hoy M.A. Augmentative Biological Control. In: Capinera J.L. (eds) Encyclopedia of Entomology. Springer, Dordrecht, 2008.

Chattopadhyay, P., Banerjee, G., and Mukherjee, S. Recent trends of modern bacterial insecticides for pest control practice in integrated crop management system. 3 Biotech, 2017;7(1):60.

Janet C. Cole, Michael W. Smith, Chad J. Penn, Becky S. Cheary, Kelley J. Conaghan, Kaur, R. Virulence of Symbiotic Bacteria Associated with Entomopathogenic Nematodes for Insect Pest Management (Doctoral Dissertation, Pau Ludhiana), 2013.

Tucker, M. R. Essential plant nutrients: their presence in North Carolina soils and role in plant nutrition. Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, Agronomic Division, 1999.

Alkurdi, M. I. Impact of Nitrogen and Phosphorus efficiency on the growth and flowering of Helichrysum bractum. Journal of Agriculture and Veterinary Science, 2014;7(2):7-12.

FEECO International Inc. NPK Fertilizer: What Is It and How Does It Work? 2017.

Smart Jr, G. C. Entomopathogenic nematodes for the biological control of insects. Journal of nematology, 1995;27(4S):529.

Zhang, Z., Zhang, X., Mahamood, M., Zhang, S., Huang, S., and Liang, W. Effect of long-term combined application of organic and inorganic fertilizers on soil nematode communities within aggregates. Scientific reports, 2016;6: 31118.

Benkovic-Lacic, T., Brmez, M., Ivezic, M., Raspudic, E., Pribetić, D., Loncaricand, Z., and Blumenthal, J., Baltensperger, D., Cassman, G., Mason, S., and Pavlista, A. Importance and Effect of Nitrogen on Crop Quality and Health. Agronomy & Horticulture – Faculty Publications, 2008;200.

Grubisic, D. Influence of organic and inorganic fertilizers on nematode communities in cornfield. Bulg. J. Agric. Sci., 2013;19:235-240.

Cock, M., Day, R., Hinz, H., Pollard, K., Thomas, S., Williams, F., Witt, A., and Shaw, R. The impacts of some classical biological control successes. CAB Rev, 2015;10:1–58.


How to Cite
Downs, G., Upadhyay, D., Mandjiny, S., & Holmes, L. (2022). The Effects of Various Organic and Inorganic Fertilizers on the Density of Entomopathogenic Nematodes Symbiont. European Journal of Agriculture and Food Sciences, 4(2), 30–34.