Head of Laboratory

Anna Kreft, PhD

(kreft@kul.pl)

 

 

            The Laboratory of Biocontrol, Production and Application of Entomopathogenic Nematodes (EPN) carries out research on methods of biological control of invertebrate pests, in particular the utilisation of entomopathogenic nematodes as biological control agents, as well as on industrial methods of the production of biopreparations based on nematodes.

Entomopathogenic nematodes comprise a very interesting group of species due to their specific biological attributes. They have only one developmental stage – free-living invasive larvae which have developed a capacity for actively seeking a host within their environment. They kill insects quickly – within about 48 hours. Entomopathogenic nematodes are harmless to vertebrates, plants and many invertebrates. Once they have been introduced into the environment, invasive larvae can live there for a relatively long time, which eliminates the need to repeat the procedure of introduction. 

Biopreparations containing entomopathogenic nematodes are utilised to combat pest insects in EU countries, the USA and Australia. It must be emphasised, however, that biological methods should adhere to specific ecological and agro-technical conditions. Therefore, the methods devised in other countries and applied in different conditions cannot be fully implemented in Poland. It is also worth observing that it is safer for the environment to utilise local organisms rather than genetically modified organisms, or organisms coming from remote regions. The introduction of new biological methods carries ecological risk.

 

Equipment:

The laboratory is provided with cutting edge equipment for the identification of nematodes (with morphological, morphometric, genetic and molecular methods), for investigation of EPN’s biology and ecology.

Microscopes:

  • research optical microscopes: LEICA 5500B with Differential Interference Contrast, DF500 and DFC 290 HD digital camera and image analysis software, OLYMPUS IX70, BH2, BX50 with transmitted DIC light and Olympus digital camera,
  • stereo microscopes: LEICA 205C, LEICA 125A, OLYMPUS SZX-10, ZEISS Stemi 11 and others.

Instruments for molecular analysis:

  • CFX96 Touch real-time PCR detection system,
  • C 1000 Thermal Cycler With 48/48 Dual Fast Reaction Module-Gradient,
  • GelDocXRGel VisualisationSystem (Bio-Rad), PC 220 V,
  • Horizontal Electrophoresis Chamber with the Wide Mini-Sub Cell GT cell,
  • Centrifuges: Eppendorff: MiniSpin Plus, 5804 R and 54 17 R,
  • ESCO PCR Vertical, Misonix VLF and POLON Laminar Flow Cabinets,
  • The PicodropMicroliter UV/Vis Spectrophotometer,
  • TissueLyser II Disruption System

 

Equipment for the isolation, growth and analysis of entomopathogenic nematodes:

  • NewBrunswick 415 bioreactors and its prototypes for tests,
  • Digitally programmed and controlled Memmert incubators in different capacities,
  • The Memmert incubator chamber,
  • The New Brunswick Scientific Cryo Freezers,
  • Laboratory Freezers TYP ZLN 180,
  • A cooling chamber for pathogen samples storage,
  • A thermostatic chamber,
  • A laboratory for the growth of test insects.

 

The team of the Laboratory of Biological Control, Production and Application of Entomopathogenic Nematodes (EPN) is also able carry out tests in semi-natural conditions (isolated and protected remote land), to examine the effectiveness of their biopesticides.