In vivo and in vitro rearing of entomopathogenic nematodes (steinernematidae and heterorhabditidae)

John G. McMullen, S. Patricia Stock

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


Entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN) (Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae) have a mutualistic partnership with Gram-negative Gamma-Proteobacteria in the family Enterobacteriaceae. Xenorhabdus bacteria are associated with steinernematids nematodes while Photorhabdus are symbionts of heterorhabditids. Together nematodes and bacteria form a potent insecticidal complex that kills a wide range of insect species in an intimate and specific partnership. Herein, we demonstrate in vivo and in vitro techniques commonly used in the rearing of these nematodes under laboratory conditions. Furthermore, these techniques represent key steps for the successful establishment of EPN cultures and also form the basis for other bioassays that utilize these organisms for research. The production of aposymbiotic (symbiont–free) nematodes is often critical for an in-depth and multifaceted approach to the study of symbiosis. This protocol does not require the addition of antibiotics and can be accomplished in a short amount of time with standard laboratory equipment. Nematodes produced in this manner are relatively robust, although their survivorship in storage may vary depending on the species used. The techniques detailed in this presentation correspond to those described by various authors and refined by P. Stock’s Laboratory, University of Arizona (Tucson, AZ, USA). These techniques are distinct from the body of techniques that are used in the mass production of these organisms for pest management purposes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere51677
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number91
StatePublished - Sep 22 2014


  • Bacteria
  • Bioengineering
  • Entomology
  • Entomopathogenic
  • In vitro
  • In vivo
  • Issue 91
  • Microbiology
  • Nematodes
  • Nematology
  • Rearing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'In vivo and in vitro rearing of entomopathogenic nematodes (steinernematidae and heterorhabditidae)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this