New Research Project: Nema-Sens


Our application for project funding from the Federal Office for Agriculture and Food has been approved. The objective of the new Nema-Sens research project is to define the optimal application conditions for the above-ground use of nematode insect pathogens against codling moths and tomato leafminers.

Nematode insect pathogens have already been used against insect pests in the ground with great success for a long time. However, their effectiveness on plant surfaces has had little research and is highly dependent on local microclimatic conditions (humidity and temperature). This project aims to define the optimal application conditions in apple orchards and to develop adapted climate strategies for applications in greenhouses.
The target organism in open land is the codling moth (Cydia pomonella) and in greenhouses, the invasive tomato leafminer (Tuta absoluta). Both pests are spreading extensively and have already developed resistance against almost all available forms of chemical insecticides.

The Nema-Sens project intends to define the parameters of humidity, leaf wetness duration and temperature that will allow nematode insect pathogens to find, penetrate and, eventually, eliminate these pests.

The overarching goal is to develop a warning service that draws on weather forecasts to advise fruit farmers on determining the optimal application times, in conjunction with favourable climate conditions, against coddling moths.  
Higher humidity conditions are necessary for use against tomato leafminers in greenhouses. The project will develop application instructions that define the temperature and humidity conditions that achieve high efficacy. This data will form the basis for defining climate control strategies for making the appropriate adjustments to the environmental conditions inside greenhouses to ensure the successful application of nematodes on the surfaces of leaves, before returning the conditions to their usual level.

The joint project will be carried out by the following partners:

  • e-nema Gesellschaft Biotechnology and Plant Protection  
  • Humboldt University of Berlin
  • Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel

The first online meeting of the project team has already been held:

e nema Team nemasens3

Prof. Dr. Ralf-Udo Ehlers (Stakeholder e-nema GmbH) & Dr. Bart Vandenbossche (Research and Development, e-nema GmbH)


HU Berlin und CAU Kiel4

Dr. Thorsten Rocksch (Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Specialist Field Biosystems Technology, Humboldt University of Berlin) & Dr. Hartmut Kaiser (Botanical Institute, Christian-Albrechts University of Kiel)

Kombilogo BMEL mit Foerderzusatz und Projekttraeger BLE englisch