VSI IR-401 Automatic larvae tray feeder - The requirement for efficient mosquito mass rearing technology has been one of the major obstacles preventing the large scale application of the Sterile Insect Technique against mosquitoes. Balestrino et al. (2012, 2014) developed and tested a larval rearing unit (tray and rack system) able to successfully rear hundred thousands of Anopheles arabiensis adult mosquitoes per rack. However, while the amount of labor to operate the rack is relatively low, daily application of the feeding solutions to larvae still requires considerable time. In order to make the rearing process more cost-efficient, and feed addition more controllable, Vienna Scientific Instruments developed in 2017 an automated feeding station for the established FAO/IAEA-style tray and rack system.
The larvae feeder IR-401 for mass rearing racks consist of three subsystems: i) regulating up and down motion for the exact fit of the nozzle system, which inject the feed mixture, including a automated measuring system to adjust the position between trays, ii) fully automated injection system, driven by micro-step motors, with an automated retracting and extending system, and iii) agitator for the feed mixture, with an abstract volume of 50 litres and the pumping system for the injection. While the feeding process per rack is fully automated, the feeding station can be easily moved and positioned in front of another rack of the same dimension to continue the feeding process.
The versatility of the IR-401 system is demonstrated by recent publications, e.g.
"Recent improvements in the equipment necessary for easy handling (automation of the larval rack and addition of a feeding station) have greatly reduced the time, labor, space, and costs associated with rearing large numbers of mosquitoes" (Mamai et al., 2018).
Please contact us if you require more information. or if you are looking for a specific technical solution for your (future) mass rearing facility.