Research projects

Projects with universities and companies

Together with various universities and companies, e-nema is involved in the following research projects:

FF IPM: New species of fruit fly threaten fruit cultivation

e-nema GmbH is one of 21 partners in the European research project Fruit-Flies In-silico, called ‘FF IPM’.

The project 'FF IPM' ('In-silico boosted, pest prevention and off-season focused IPM against new and emerging fruit flows') focuses on three immigrant fruit fly species.  They have a broad spectrum of host plants and pose an immediate threat to European fresh fruit production:

  • Mediterranean fruit fly (Ceratitis capitate)
  • Oriental fruit fly (Bactrocera dorsalis)
  • Peach fruit fly  (Bactrocera zonata)

On the one hand, the flies are spread via natural migration into new, climate-suitable areas, as well as through the transport of infested fruits through trade and tourism.

FF IPM Logo2To this project, Dr. Arne Peters (e-nema GmbH) and his team will bring their expertise on biocontrol with beneficial nematodes. They are researching a suitable formulation in which entomopathogenic nematodes can be used successfully against these fruit flies.


Nematodes as live food in aquaculture (Finished)

Launched: 2017; Term: 1 year

Our project NEMAQUA has long been concerned with nematodes as live food in aquaculture. Many aquaculture species can not be reared without live food. Difficulties with previous solutions have led to a global demand for an industrially produced and regularly available live food without pathogenic load.

Our nematodes that are produced in bioreactors could be used as the world's first, pathogen-free, sustainable and easy-to-use industrially-produced food source for larval aquaculture breeding.

logo zimCurrently we are developing a process for anhydrobiosis, a method that allows the living nematodes to survive without water and to be used as a revitalizable fish food. This subproject of NEMAQUA is funded by an innovation program for SMEs from the german federal ministry of economics and energy.


Project Nema-SMART (Finished)

Launched: July 2017; term: 3 years

For its research project Nema-SMART, e-nema GmbH receives funding from the initiative "KMU-innovative: Biotechnology - BioChance" of the BMBF (Federal Ministry of Education and Research). Within 3 years, 6 scientists will continue the breeding optimization of the nematode Heterorhabditis bacteriophora, a nematode used in corn cultivation. Among other, specialist support is provided by Professor Helge Bode (Goethe University Frankfurt).

Since the introduction of the invasive pest western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera virgifera) from the USA to Serbia in 1992, the corn rootworm has also spread to Germany. Due to the endangerment of bees, seed dressing based on neonicotinoid pesticide insecticide has been banned since 2008.

Aince then, e-nema GmbH has considerably expanded its research activities on the use of the nematode H. bacteriophora. Perennial test results have shown that nematodes in 70% of the experiments achieve the same or higher efficiencies as the chemical standards. In order to reduce the costs of nematode products and thus make them more attractive to farmers, the nematode H. bacteriophora is selected for virulence and lifespan in the Nema-SMART project.

Thus, the application rate of a nematode product could be halved, or the shelf life of the product and the persistence of the nematode in the soil can be extended after the application. Improving shelf life would facilitate distribution logistics, reduce product costs, and make nematode products more competitive.

logo bmbf

Nema-SMART is part of the BMBF initiative KMU-innovative. Grant Agreement KMU-innovative-19





Horizon 2020 project NEMAQUA (Finished)

Nematodes as the world first pathogen free, ready-to-use and sustainable live feed for larval aquaculture industry.

The project addresses the global need for a reliable mass production of a pathogen free live feed for the larval aquaculture industry. This is essential because many species farmed in aquaculture will not thrive without live feed.

This new protein feed, made in Europe, is produced in bioreactors using cost effective and readily available feedstock from land bound agriculture. Contrary to state of the art solutions no fish oil or fishmeal is required to enhance the feed to proper nutritional value. The storage stable new live feed is ready-to-use within 1-hour rehydration in water, requiring minimal labour and facility. Manufactured under sterile conditions, the new feed eliminates the need for prophylactic or curative use of antibiotics in hatcheries.

The feasibility study reviews methods to upscale the existing prototype to factory scale production and the resulting economics for market introduction.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 696373 (Nemaqua)

„White“ Biotechnology (Finished)

Within the BMBF-funded Research Cluster Biokatalyse 2021 e-nema is collaborating with various partners in the development of industrial processes for the production of fine chemicals, substances which total annual production is less than a few tons. A large scale chemical production process is often less economic for those little amounts. Moreover, the outcome of a synthetic production process is often a mix of various isomers with undesired properties. The use of microorganisms for the production of fine chemicals allows the production of chemicals of high purity and defined isomeric properties with a minimum use of resources. In the first project, the biocatalytical synthesis of cinnamic acid was developed. The second project topic, still proceeding with the partners Stern-Enzym and Leibniz-Universtität Hannover, the cost efficient production of the enzyme Ferulic-Acid-Estarase, to be used in e.g. improving the properties of dough in baking, will be developed.

DBU: Biological plant protection with innovative formulations of endophytic fungi active against pest insects (Finished)

The project aims at developing biocontrol products acting systemically inside the plant. They will be based on fungi growing inside the plant (endophytically) without interfering with plant growth but delivering specific toxicity factors to insects feeding on the plant. E-nema will be responsible for developing the industrial production and formulation method. The partners from the University of Göttingen and Bielefeld (Fachhochschule) will optimise and assess the formulation and the application method in greenhouse experiments.

Sens-o-Spheres: Position-independent recording of process signals in innovative bioreactors

This project aims at developing a prototype of a diving process-signal probe which will transmit the recorded data wireless. e-nema task in this project is providing the industrial perspective in defining suitable test-cases and the final testing of the sensors in shaken flasks and in small-scale bioreactors.

BLE-project on the development of a methionine-rich feed additive (Finished)

Launched: October 2014; term: 3 years

The objective is the production of a feed-additive for methionine supply compliant with the EU Eco-directive 834/2007 and 889/2008 based on the use of identity preserved bacteria or fungi.

Besides the promising strain Corynebacterium glutamicum KY 10757 other microorganisms will be screened for their methionine production potential. The methionine production will be improved simultaneously optimizing the composition of the production medium and various process parameters (pressure, temperature, oxygen concentration, etc.) using genetic algorithms.

At the end, a suitable procedure for the industrial production of a dry, storable methionine-rich feed additive will be developed. The uptake-rate of the additive will be assessed in feeding experiments.

BIOCOMES (Finished)

Launched: November 2013; term: 4 years

BIOCOMESThe EU emphasizes the role of integrated pest management as an important approach to reduce dependency on pesticides use. Before pesticides are used, biological control measures, together with other non-chemical methods, should have first preference (Directive 2009/128/EC).

The EU is stimulating the development of biological control products by financing the BIOCOMES ( project. At the end of this project in November 2017 BIOCOMES partners expect to have developed 11 new biological control products to control a number of important pests and diseases in agriculture, horticulture and forestry. Furthermore, two new technologies to improve the production of nematode and virus agents will be developed. An important contribution to the effectiveness of an integrated pest management approach for farmers and foresters.

At e-nema, the main research focuses are: i) breeding of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) for better shelf life, higher virulence and enhanced environmental stress resistance, and ii) optimization of downstream processing for large scale production and improvement of storage and formulation techniques for EPNs. Achieving these goals will finally reduce application costs for EPN and will make them more compatible against chemical pesticides and this will finally lead to a broader us of these biological control agents.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 612713

Co-Free (Finished)

Launched: February 2012; term: 3 years

While the use of copper-based preparations has many side effects, their use in biological plant cultivation to treat harmful fungi is still tolerated owing to the lack of alternatives. In the EU-backed Co-Free project, an international consortium of research institutes and companies under the lead of Dr. Annegret Schmitt from JKI Darmstadt are studying the development of side-effect-free alternatives to copper preparations. As part of this group, e-nema GmbH is focusing, among other things, on optimising the mass propagation of suitable microorganisms to control late blight (Phytophthora infestans) in potatoes.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 289497

Inbiosoil (Finished)

Launched: spring 2012; term: 3 years

The use of biological pesticides is increasing, but there are still 'difficult' pest insects that cannot be controlled using existing agents. An international team of research institutes and companies under the leadership of Prof. Vidal from the University of Göttingen is taking new approaches to closing these gaps in effectiveness. These include the combined application of insect-pathogenic fungi and nematodes as well as the development of innovative application techniques and preparations. Here, e-nema GmbH is contributing its own ideas on how to apply nematodes and fungi, such as in bait boxes, as well as how to develop the mass production of insect-pathogenic fungi in bioreactors.

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme for research, technological development and demonstration under grant agreement no. 282767

Feed a Shrimp (Finished)

Overfishing of our seas is becoming increasingly dramatic, which is why the cultivation of aquatic organisms under controlled conditions (aquaculture) will become increasingly important. Young animals are needed for aquaculture, which have high demands on fodder as the majority obtain their nourishment from live prey. While some nematode species are essentially suitable as fodder for organisms, they do not have the required fatty acids for shrimp larvae. In addition, it has so far been impossible to mass propagate suitable nematodes.

The German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU) is backing a project in which e-nema GmbH together with the University of Kiel (Institute of Phytopathology) is developing a procedure to produce the required fatty acids using special algae in a bioreactor. Laboratory work has already managed to add these fatty acids to selected species of nematodes so that the shrimp larvae can use the nematodes as fodder; however, many questions still need to be answered before a market-ready product can be developed.

Gezonde Kas (Finished)

Launched: September 2011; term: 3 years

e-nema GmbH is involved in the inter-regional 'Gezonde Kas' project (led by Wageningen University, Netherlands). The project aims to promote scientific and technological collaboration between companies and institutes along the Germany-Netherlands border. Translated, 'Gezonde Kas' means 'Healthy Greenhouse'. Among a large number of measures to improve energy efficiency and plant health in greenhouses, e-nema GmbH is developing the means to cultivate endophytic microorganisms, which grow in plants and improve plant health, in bioreactors.