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Division of Biotechnology and Plant Health

Managing free-living plant parasitic nematodes in potato, vegetables, strawberry and cereals using Patch dynamics in Norway

Finished Last updated: 17.02.2021
End: sep 2022
Start: jan 2017

Plant-parasitic nematodes are microscopic roundworms and many species feed on plant roots, thereby disrupting water and nutrient uptake and affecting plant yield. Global annual losses to crop production are estimated to be in excess of $80 billion. Since the middle of the last centuary control of plant-parasitic nematodes has relied upon synthetically pr|oduced nematicides most of which have very broad toxicological properties and are hazardous to humans, domestic animals, fish and the environment in general.  

Status Active
Start - end date 01.01.2017 - 30.09.2022
Project manager Hanne Skomedal
Division Division of Biotechnology and Plant Health
Department Viruses, Bacteria and Nematodes in Forestry, Agriculture and Horticulture

Both in Europe and elsewhere governmental legislation is prohibiting their use and banning them from the market. This means that future control strategies for plant-parasitic nematodes need to rely primarily on biological information.

Nematode damage occurs where large populations of nematodes are present in fields and can be observed as patches of poor plant growth. Above ground symptoms of nematode damage to roots are often unspecific as they primarely reflect the dysfunction of the root systems. Due to the little awareness of free-living nematodes as parasites and the unspecific symptoms of their damage, these parasites may easily be overlooked as causal agents of growth depressions. Indeed, the lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus spp) were regarded as the third most important group of plant-parasitic nematode (Jones et al. 2013).  

Previous studies have shown transects to be useful in understanding migratory endoparasitic nematode interactions. Furthermore, transect analyses of nematode patches revealed the possibility of monitoring nematode populations in relationship to their microbial enemies. We intend to take advantage of these nematode patches by using them as naturally occurring experiments. We call this approach “patch dynamics“. There is an urgent need of more information in this area since soil samples from Norwegian fields, analysed at NIBIO and other laboratories, indicate an increasing damage from free-living nematodes, and in extreme cases the damage has been so high that some farmers have considered abandoning crop production on nematode infested fields.