Friday, April 23, 2010

Protection from Nematodes

Plant parasitic nematodes are major agricultural pest. For example, potato cyst nematodes (Globodera pallida and Globodera rostochiensis) alone are estimated to cause €350 million worth of losses annually in the EU alone. The use of fumigants (such as methyl bromide) to control nematode numbers has been curtailed due to public health concerns.

A very successful alternative to the use of such nematicides is the application of organic soil amendments to suppress nematode numbers. Examples of these organic soil amendments include plant preparations of Neem (Azadirachta indica) and Asteracea, organic manure and chitinaceous materials. In a recent study (Oka, 2010 Applied Soil Ecology 44 pp. 101–115) it was shown that, while interactions between organisms in the rhizosphere are quite complex, possible mechanisms such as release of nematicidal compounds from soil amendments, generation of such compounds during degradation and enhancement of antagonistic mico-organisms in the soil among others all combined to reduce nematode numbers.


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