BioControl (2013) 58, 85-93

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Samuel Anbesse, Nanette Hope Sumaya, Anna Verena Dörfler, Olaf Strauch and Ralf-Udo Ehlers (2013)
Stabilisation of heat tolerance traits in Heterorhabditis bacteriophora through selective breeding and creation of inbred lines in liquid culture
BioControl 58 (1), 85-93
Abstract: Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) suffer from trait deterioration, a potential problem when these antagonists are transferred into artificial environments for mass production. In order to improve beneficial traits of EPN genetic selection and hybridization has been successfully carried out. Should these selected strains deteriorate during serial culturing the efforts would be in vain. Inbreeding might offer a possibility to stabilize traits but can also result in inbreeding depression. This study attempted to increase heat tolerance of Heterorhabditis bacteriophora by selective breeding for seven cycles either with nematodes propagated in vivo in Galleria mellonella or with in vitro propagated nematodes which were exposed to heat stress in monoxenic liquid culture. After release of the selection pressure, the tolerance was monitored over 15 additional reproductive cycles to compare the stability of the trait. Virulence of the selected strains was assessed to check for negative tradeoff effects. Heat tolerance was successfully increased in vivo (from 39.03 to 40.85 °C) and in vitro (from 39 to 40 °C) propagated H. bacteriophora, but could only be maintained in populations which were serially reared in liquid culture. When H. bacteriophora is cultured in vivo, reproduction by cross fertilization is possible. In in vitro culture male and female cannot mate and reproduction is solely by self-fertilizing hermaphrodite resulting in homozygous inbred lines. Trait deterioration seems to be restricted to in vivo propagated H. bacteriophora, whereas monoxenic liquid cultures handling large numbers of inbred lines provided genetically stable and virulent nematode populations. Selection using liquid culture technology is thus superior over in vivo propagation to sustain beneficial traits in H. bacteriophora not only for selective breeding but also for mass production.
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Database assignments for author(s): Ralf-Udo Ehlers

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
rearing/culturing/mass production


Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.
Heterorhabditis bacteriophora/Photorhabdus (entomopathogen)