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The MycoHarvester version 5b

The MycoHarvester 5b replaces previous versions of this important mycopesticide research and development tool. Its features include:

  • Ease of handling product and cleaning
  • Autoclavable (stainless steel) cyclones
  • Improved fluid bed column: taller and redesigned for better handling greater quantities of substrate
  • Better simulation of scaled-up production (the cyclone essentially has the same geometry as those used in the MH3)
  • Adaptability: the MH 5 series is modular in design: so that a basic unit for laboratory-trial-scale development can be upgraded as production needs increase.

MycoHarvester5

Specifications: MH 5

Weight: net - 21.5 kg (including 1 spare spore cylinder); gross packed weight - 26 kg.

Dimensions (unpacked, assembled): 430 x 500 (deep) x 830 mm high

Electrical supply: 220-240 v. MycoHarvesters are normally supplied either with 13 amp (rectangular pin, fused) or European standard (round pin) plugs. Other standards can be fitted on request, otherwise equipment will be supplied without plug.

Particle classification: Based on analysis of extraction samples of aerial conidia of Metarhizium anisopliae, the MH1 easily conformed to the particle size specifications established during research by the LUBILOSA Programme. For production of stable formulations, the size spectrum of extracted material (by volume) should be:
    <10 µm: >80%
    <100 µm: 100%

Operating Instructions: MH5

Things that the MycoHarvester 5 can and cannot do

The MycoHarvester 5 is first and foremost a research tool for mycopesticide development. This device is an "enabling technology" designed for small-medium scale sample preparation (typically processing up to 50 kg of substrate to produce approximately 1 kg of spores per day). Scaled-up units (the MH 3) are also available, which use a different method of substrate agitation. Since the MH 5 uses essentially the same cyclone geometry, it simulates scaled-up mycopesticide production.

The MH 5 is suitable for small-scale, non-continuous preparation of samples of beneficial microbial agents, in genera such as: Metarhizium, Beauveria, Paecilomyces, and similar powdery fungi used in mycopesticide products. It also has been used with several species of Trichoderma. If spore separation problems are encountered, initial approaches might include: reducing the surface moisture content of the substrate (we recommend <20%) and factors that influence fungal conidiation (nutrients, rate of drying etc.).

Conidia are separated into a form that is easy to desiccate and package, from solid substrates: usually cooked grains such as rice. Experience in the LUBILOSA programme has shown this to be a key process in the development of commercially acceptable mycopesecticides. The principal advantages of MycoHarvesters include:

  • Elimination of large (>100 µm) particles which cause blockages in sprayers
  • High quality spore separation, which can enable the development of physically stable formulations.
  • Operator safety: spore dust is sucked into the machine.
  • Fast, cost effective processing of experimental quantities of mycopesticides...
  • ... facilitating better storage by concentrating spores for subsequent thorough drying.

Different fungi have different production characteristics. The surface properties and morphology of conidia vary considerably between different fungal species. Before processing, the substrate surface should be dry: but the degree of drying required before processing must be determined experimentally. Having separated pure spore preparations, work can commence on optimising storage (usually a function of moisture content and temperature) and formulation and packaging. The development of storage models has also proved to be an important tool for estimating shelf life: Tran Hong et al. (2001) have adapted seed storage models for mycopesticide use, which have been proven with M. anisopliae and Beauveria bassiana. Further information on formulations can be obtained from Burges (1998) and quality control by Jenkins & Grzywacz (2000).

We strongly emphasise that although these parameters have been established for products such as 'Green Muscle', other fungal isolates are likely to differ substantially and all procedures must be checked carefully before large scale production begins. Your MycoHarvester helps to ensure that experimental results are not confounded by presence of substrate, mycelium and other contaminants.

Burges, H.D. (ed.) (1998) Formulation of Microbial Biopesticides, beneficial microorganisms, nematodes and seed treatments. Publ. Kluwer Academic, Dordrecht, 412 pp.

Hong, T. D., Gunn, J., Ellis, R.H., Jenkins, N.E., Moore, D. (2001) The effect of storage environment on the longevity of conidia of Beauveria bassiana. Mycological Research 105(5): 597-602.

Jenkins,N.E. and Grzywacz, D. (2000) Quality control of fungal and viral biocontrol agents - assurance of product performance. Biocontrol Science and Technology 10: 753-777.

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Updated 15/4/2012