These beneficial nematodes, Steinernema feltiae, have been a growers' tool for effective biological control of thrips and sciarid flies for over 50 years. Therefore, Koppert decided to evolve the product to today's growers needs. Hence, the development of the new gel fomulation for its nematode products, including Entonem. This formaulation increase the shelf life of these highly effective biocontrol organisms and ensure that no visible residue is left on the leaves or fruit of the crop.
After a long trajectory of research and development, Koppert is replacing the clay matrix (in which the nematodes remain in a dormant state until released) with a gel formulation which significantly lengthens the shelf life by several weeks (up to 16 weeks in some cases). ‘This is because nematodes use less energy during their hibernation in the gel formulation. When used on time, they are more energetic to do the job they were made for,’ Product Manager at Koppert, Tim Bossinga, explains.
The fact that there’s no visible residue, is another major advantage for the end-user, because the new formula, dissolved in water, is a transparent solution. The former clay medium left a whitish film on the final product, which was affecting the economic value of ornamental crops especially.
An additional advantage of the new gel formulation is the package size has been reduced significantly, by about 30%. This becomes a benefit to growers and Koppert because of the savings on shipping costs. Koppert is consistentlysearching for ways to improve not only quality of its products but also how it can help the growers' bottom line.
As with many of Koppert's products the strength of the nematodes is that pests cannot build any resistance against them. That means that they are a very stable factor with regards to crop control. Plus, they work perfectly with Koppert's other biological solutions.
Processing this medium is also much easier. The gel dissolves easily and homogeneously in water, contrary to the clay which sometimes lumped together.
Correct application is crucial for the effectiveness of this biological solution. That’s why Koppert released a new ‘How-to-Use’ video.