Archive for the ‘Nematodes’ Category



A juvenile root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, penetrates a tomato root. Once inside, the juvenile, which also attacks cotton roots, causes a gall to form and robs the plant of nutrients. Photo by William Wergin and Richard Sayre. Colorized by Stephen Ausmus.

19th Biennial Group Meeting of the “All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Nematodes in Cropping Systems”

 At the 19th Biennial Group Meeting of the “All India Coordinated Research Project (AICRP) on Nematodes in Cropping Systems” recently held at University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences, Shivamogga (Karnataka) India; experts from the country conveyed that an aggressive (with high reproduction rate, more damage to host plants and wide host range) root knot nematode, Meloidogyne enterolobii,  got introduced and established through guava root stocks from Chhattisgarh, is causing huge losses in Dindigul, Coimbatore, Villupuram, Dharampuri and Krishnagiri districts of Tamil Nadu.  The group emphasized that there is an urgent need to strengthen and enforce domestic quarantine mechanism to suspend spread of plant parasitic nematodes with vegetative propagules, especially through seed potatoes and rooted plants – along with soil, from nurseries/ sick plots/ hot-spot areas to disease free niches. In their opinion, presently nurseries in the country are having a field day and incorrigible for spreading pests without meeting any cleanliness standards or phytosanitary regulations. To break the pathway,  it was suggested to enforce registration and licensing of plants and horticultural nurseries.

The recommendation from the Biennial Workshop is immensely important for reducing crop losses of horticultural crops in the country. Horticulture plant nurseries are extremely complex agricultural systems, recorded as pathways for several pests and diseases. Dr. Rajan said that the situation has become further cumbersome with ‘on line’ availability and sale of live ornamental and horticultural plants in the country. As disease management in nurseries/ green houses require specialisation; nematologists from the group ventured a draft road map – with details of detection, exclusion, risk analysis, critical control points for nursery stocks, infrastructure required for prophylactic measures, and costs involved for a prophylactic holistic system approach for registration/ certification for Nurseries and Green Houses.

In the address, Dr. D. J. Patel (Former Dean, Anand Agriculture University) and Dr. P. P. Reddy (Former Director, Indian Institute of Horticulture Research), well known experts in the subject expressed deep concerns about new nematode diseases in pomegranate, guava, coconut, banana, spices and vegetables all over the country through propagules. There is urgent need for policy support from Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR), Department of Agriculture and Cooperation as well as Horticulture Mission for framing mandatory regulatory provisions for registration, licensing and certification of protected cultivation houses, nurseries and green houses especially for pest / quarantine requirements.

Dr. R. K. Walia, Project Coordinator (Nematodes), presented a brief history, background and the salient achievements of the AICRP on nematodes and overall scenario Plant Nematology research in India. He expressed serious concerns about the losses in crops due to nematode diseases and urged upon the nematologists to devise integrated approaches to manage root knot nematode (Meloidogyne spp.) problem in recently established poly-houses (for promoting cultivation of vegetables and ornamental) all over the country.

New publications “Pictorial guide on important nematode diseases of Karnataka”, “Comprehensive monograph of rice root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne graminicola)”, “Status of plant nematode diseases in Karnataka – a review”, and “Compendium of new plant parasitic nematode diseases of Karnataka”, along with a number of bulletins on serious issues were also launched on the occasion.


Principal Scientist (Plant Protection)

Crop Science Division,

Indian Council of Agricultural Research,

Krishi Bhawan, New Delhi 110001, India

email: rajan.newdelhi@gmail.com

Telefax: 011-23382385

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Nematode pheromone ascr#18 has been shown to alert plants to the presence of plant-parasitic nematodes and to activate their immune responses.

Nematodes, or roundworms, are the most numerous animals on earth, parasitizing most plants and animals. These infections are responsible for many of the most common neglected tropical diseases, causing significant morbidity and mortality. Soil-dwelling nematodes also put food security at risk by attacking agriculturally important plants. While the human response to dealing with parasite infection has been thoroughly researched; it has only recently been discovered that plant-parasitic nematodes not only activate defensive responses in plants, but also provide nematode-mediated immunity to subsequent attack by pathogens and viruses.

Numerous nematodes

Root-knot nematode galls on plant roots. Source: commons wikimedia
Root-knot nematode galls on plant roots. Source: commons wikimedia

Despite more than 4,100 species of plant-parasitic roundworms being identified, two major groups of nematodes are responsible for most agricultural plant damage. The root-knot nematodes, Meloidogyne spp. damage plants by producing galls on roots; whereas, the cyst nematodes, Heterodera and Globodera spp., by the formation of root cysts.

Soil-dwelling nematodes are ubiquitous and rich arable soil may contain up to 3 billion worms per acre. It therefore comes as no surprise that infected crops result in over $100 billion worth of agricultural damage globally per annum. For British crops alone, damage by cyst nematodes, Globodera rostochiensis and G. pallida, account for an estimated  £50 million damage each year.

Cyst nematodes damage to potato roots. Source: commons wikimedia

Cyst nematodes damage to potato roots. Source: commons wikimedia

Nematode control therefore is a serious business; however, following the current tightening of legislation, withdrawal from use of inorganic pesticides (the primary source of pest and disease management over the past decades) and a lack of resistant plant varieties, there is an urgent need to understand more about plant natural defenses to promote resistance to nematodes and other invaders.

Plant defenses against pathogens

Plant defenses can be broadly grouped into constitutive (continuous) defenses and inducible defenses. Toxic chemicals or defense-related proteins are typically only produced after pathogens are detected due to the high energy costs associated with their production and maintenance. To allow detection of, and rapid response to, potentially harmful pathogens plants have evolved several layers of highly developed surveillance mechanisms to try and circumvent serious damage.

The first line of defense consists of inducible defenses, which are mounted when plant cells recognize microbe-associated molecular patterns (MAMPs), such as lipopolysaccharides, flagellin, peptidoglycan and other compounds commonly found in microbes. Plant cells then become fortified against attack, conferring protection from the invading pathogen. Although MAMP’s have been well characterized, up until recently, it remained unclear as to whether plants could detect conserved molecular patterns derived from plant-parasitic animals, such as soil-dwelling nematodes.

‘Nematode-associated molecular patterns’

A number of studies have previously shown that, in response to plant-parasitic nematode infection, plants quickly activate defense pathways similar to those induced by other pathogens. Although these findings were very promising, what the nematode-derived signals actually were remained a mystery.

Following the discovery that non-parasitic soil nematodes can also induce plant defenses, a conserved nematode signature molecule appeared to be a likely trigger for activating the plant defense response. Ascarosides are pheromones exclusive to nematodes that are used to regulate development and social behaviours. Ascarosides represent an evolutionarily conserved family of signalling molecules, of which more than 200 different ascaroside structures from over 20 different species have been identified. Due to the highly conserved nature of these molecules, it seemed plausible that plant hosts and nematode-associated microorganisms may have evolved the means to detect and respond to this ancient nematode molecule. A recent study published in Nature Communications investigated whether ascarosides can be detected by plants, and whether detection of the molecules induced the plant-defence response.

(a) Examples of ascarosides previously identified. (b) HPLC-MS analysis of nematode exo-metabolome samples, showing seven detected ascarosides. (c) Chemical structures of identified ascarosides and relative quantitative distribution. Source: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150723/ncomms8795/fig_tab/ncomms8795_F1.html
(a) Examples of ascarosides previously identified. (b) HPLC-MS analysis of nematode exo-metabolome samples, showing seven detected ascarosides. (c) Chemical structures of identified ascarosides and relative quantitative distribution. Source: http://www.nature.com/ncomms/2015/150723/ncomms8795/fig_tab/ncomms8795_F1.html

Profiles of ascarosides from adult and juvenile stages of a number of agriculturally relevant species of plant-parasitic nematodes were characterised using mass spectrometry (MS) to analyse the metabolome excreted into media supernatant. MS analysis of exo-metabolome samples revealed excretion of similar sets of ascarosides in all analysed species; however, ascr#18 was identified in all plant-parasitic nematodes as the most abundant molecule.

In order to determine whether ascr#18 could be perceived by plants and influence plant-defensive responses to different pathogens, the ascaroside was applied in various concentrations to Arabidopsis roots 24 h prior to leaf innoculation with pathogens. By monitoring expression of MAMP-triggered immunity (MTI) markers and defense-related genes in leaves at different time points after root treatment with ascr#18, characteristic defense responses such as MAMP-triggered immunity were shown to be induced. Interestingly, local and systemic defenses were also shown to be activated by ascr#18 application to leaves.

Detection of ascr#18 by plants increased resistance to viral, bacterial, oomycete, fungal and nematode infections in Arabidopsis, as well as tomato, potato and barley. Additionally, three other ascarosides applied to different plants showed defense responses were induced by structurally diverse ascarosides, but that this varied in a structure- and species-dependent manner.


A comparison of experimental wheat lines showing different levels of resistance to the disease spot blotch. Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cimmyt/6508078617
A comparison of experimental wheat lines showing different levels of resistance to the disease spot blotch.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            Source: https://www.flickr.com/photos/cimmyt/6508078617

Plant crops suffer  considerable damage every year from parasites and pathogens, putting food security at great risk. The ability to activate plant immune responses as and when required by using signalling molecules, such as ascarosides, is an exciting discovery that could contribute to improving the economic and environmental sustainability of agriculture. One potential application could be spraying of ascr#18 on crop leaves; as although plants primarily encounter ascarosides via their roots, leaf exposure to low ascr#18 concentrations was also effective at inducing the defense responses to confer fortification against attack.

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feed the future logo-feed-the-future

Ubaldo Sagastume in his coffee field

Partnering for Innovation
Country: Honduras
Award period:April 2015 – January 2017
Website: http://www.zamorano.edu
With foreign markets requiring reductions in the use of chemicals, there is great demand for biological solutions to pest management. Zamorano University will promote the use of beneficial nematodes instead of traditional pesticides to control insect infestations in select horticultural crops. Through scale-up of their biocontrol laboratory, Zamorano will produce and sell 20 times as many doses of beneficial nematodes over the previous year. Small producers will be able to access this biocontrol at a much lower cost than a synthetic chemical product throughout the western departments of Honduras.

Outcome: 9,000 hectares of smallholder land will use biological pest control. In addition, Zamorano will sell through a commercial partner to build a sustainable distribution channel in the country.

See: http://partneringforinnovation.org/program-zamorano-university.aspx

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News from Myanmar


stem nematode Myanmar


A recent outbreak of Ufra rice disease is decimating rice crops in the Ayeyarwady region. Photo: Hong Sar/Mizzima


A recent outbreak of Ufra rice disease is decimating rice crops in Ayeyarwady Region. Caused by a tiny nematode (Ditylenchus angustus) that feeds on the inner part of unmerged rice leaves, the disease initially causes the discoloration of rice plants. Infected plants have panicles with many unfilled grains, lowering yields, and in severe cases, causing complete crop failure.

In 2002, it was estimated that 15 percent of Myanmar’s rice farmers were affected by the disease, but because of improper containment strategies, the number is now thought to be higher. For example, in Ayeyarwady Region’s Myaungmya district, up to 68 percent of farmers are thought to be affected.

This year the monsoon has unleashed widespread infestation throughout Ayeyarwady Region, particularly in Pathein district. In many cases, farmers affected by the disease are only able to harvest up to 20 baskets of rice for each quarter acre, compared to an average of more than 70 baskets in a good year. At Hay Man Village in Bogele Township, 30 acres out of 55 acres were rendered unproductive by the disease.

The spread of the disease is blamed on inadequate understanding. Simple measures, such as burning crop residue, planting short-life rice varieties and proper water management, are enough to contain and, eventually, eradicate Ufra. Unfortunately, Myanmar farmers often lack enough knowledge about these measures. They also lack the tools needed to diagnose the disease from among a variety of pests and diseases likely to affect their crops. This means that they are trying to salvage their crops by using costly pesticides that are not as effective as the preventive measures outlined above.

The Myanmar Agriculture Service does what it can to assist but does not have the funds to make frequent village visits to help farmers diagnose and respond effectively to outbreaks of Ufra. Another challenge is that insufficient resources have been allocated to building the embankments, floodgates and other basic infrastructure that would significantly help farmers to control the disease. During a joint Proximity Design-MAS visit to Paw De Kaw Village in Naputa Township on September 7, 2014, it was revealed that more than 50 of the area’s farmers would be unable to implement the suggested prevention measures because their land was too close to a nearby river to allow for proper water management. In Paw De Kaw Township, floodgates are all that are needed to help control the spread of Ufra but the area’s farmers have suffered years of poor harvests and cannot afford to build them without government support.

Because the nematode responsible for Ufra needs high humidity, the disease thrives in South Asia, especially during years of heavy rain and flooding. Though cases of the disease have been documented in parts of India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Myanmar, and Thailand, it’s been most problematic in neighbouring Bangladesh. Even there, however, progress has been achieved by encouraging farmers to plant lowland rice varieties. Meanwhile, farmers in lower Myanmar, such as the residents of Paw De Kaw Village, continue to struggle.

This Article first appeared in the October 30, 2014 edition of Mizzima Business Weekly.

Mizzima Business Weekly is available in print in Yangon through Innwa Bookstore and through online subscription at http://www.mzineplus.com




Myanmar states:

Ufra symptoms on rice plants:




Ufra affected rice field:

Ufra disease information:




_D. angustus_ disease cycle:
_D. angustus_ pathogen information:
_D. angustus_ taxonomy:

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A ProMED-mail post    <http://www.promedmail.org>
ProMED-mail is a program of the International Society for Infectious Diseases <http://www.isid.org>

Date: September 2014

Source: European Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO) Reporting Service 9/2014/164 [edited] <http://archives.eppo.org/EPPOReporting/2014/Rse-1409.pdf>


A systematic survey for the presence of potato cyst nematodes (_Globodera rostochiensis_ and _G. pallida_ — both EPPO A2 List) was initiated in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2011. Until 2012, only _G. rostochiensis_ had been detected in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In autumn 2012, viable cysts were found in 2 soil samples originating from 1 field located 70 km [about 43 miles] east of Sarajevo.

Morphological and molecular analysis confirmed the occurrence of _G. pallida_ in these samples. More samples were collected from the other fields of the grower concerned, as well as from their surroundings, but no cysts were found in these additional samples.

A more intensive sampling regime was implemented in the infested field (1.1 ha [2.7 acres]) and revealed a high infestation of 1 cyst per gram of soil in the infestation focus. The high infestation level and the use of farm-saved seed potatoes by the grower suggest that the introduction of _G. pallida_ probably took place several years before via imports of infected seed potatoes.

Phytosanitary measures were taken on the infested field (prohibition to grow potatoes for the next 6 years, continuing sampling).

communicated by: ProMED-mail <promed@promedmail.org>

[Both golden (_Globodera rostochiensis_, with at least 5 races) and pale (_G. pallida_) potato cyst nematodes (PCNs) cause serious crop losses in potato. Other solanaceous crops (such as tomato) and weeds may serve as pathogen reservoirs. PCN symptoms on potato include stunting, yellowing, and wilting of leaves as well as a reduced root system. PCNs may lead to complete crop failure. Diseased plants first occur in isolated patches and these become larger with each new crop.

The nematodes can survive in soil for up to 20 years as cysts. Spread occurs via infected soil, water, wind, or on plant material (such as the seed potatoes suspected above). Disease management includes exclusion, long crop rotation with non-host species, use of crop cultivars resistant to specific PCN races and nematicides. These control measures can be combined to keep nematode levels below economic thresholds. Both PCNs have been included on the quarantine lists of the European Plant Protection Organisation (EPPO).

In the Eurasian area, golden PCN is widespread but pale PCN has a more restricted distribution and its detection in specific areas is considered of significance to the respective region. It would be important to ascertain the original source of the infection in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as that location would also require appropriate measures to improve the health of local solanaceous crops.


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Western Australia
August 13, 2014

Growers are reminded to investigate uneven crops to check if plant parasitic nematodes are present, after root lesion and burrowing nematodes were found in the Moora area.

Roots of barley crop impacted by P. penetrans

Department of Agriculture and Food nematologist Sarah Collins recently visited the area where a number of wheat and barley crops have been damaged by burrowing (Radopholus) nematodes and by root lesion nematodes (Pratylenchus, RLN).

Samples were diagnosed by AGWEST Plant Laboratories as the RLN species Pratylenchus penetrans.

“This was unexpected as this species is more often associated with cropping in the cooler growing areas but we have had a number of P. penetrans diagnoses this season from locations across areas of the Wheatbelt including Moora, Northam and Wagin,” Dr Collins said. “It is one of the species that we know less about.

“The ‘burrowing nematode’ detected in a nearby barley crop is also interesting as crop damage has not been reported for this plant parasitic nematode for a number of years.”

Correct identification of nematodes is important because the choice of suitable break crops to mitigate future damage is dependent on knowing which plant parasitic nematode species are present.

“It is possible that consecutive seasons favourable to RLN and burrowing nematode and the increasing inclusion of canola to crop rotations may be contributing to the build-up of nematode numbers,” Dr Collins said.

The reports follow survey work by the Focus Paddocks project, supported by Grains Research and Development Corporation, which has detected increasing levels of RLN across 184 paddocks surveyed since 2010.

“We are seeing the highest prevalence of RLN populations in at least a decade,” Dr Collins said.

Above ground symptoms of plants infected with root lesion and burrowing nematodes include stunting, poor growth, early wilting, premature yellowing of lower leaves and dying back from the tips.

Below ground symptoms often include reduced root systems with fewer lateral roots and root hairs compared to nearby healthy plants. Brown/dark coloured lesions along the roots may also be seen.

Suspected root disease or nematode problems in-crop can be confirmed by a chargeable laboratory analysis of soil and/or roots by AGWEST Plant Labs, which are contactable on 9368 3721 or agwestplantlabs@agric.wa.gov.au.

Nematodes will be on the agenda at a plant disease ID course for agronomists and development officers run by the department in South Perth next week (19 and 20 Aug). The department can deliver courses on root disease identification for grower groups at their local centre. To enquire about these courses contact Dominie Wright at the department on 9368 3875.

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Contact: Caroline Wood
Society for Experimental Biology



Many modern crops have high productivity, but have lost their ability to produce certain defence chemicals, making them vulnerable to attack by insects and pathogens. Swiss scientists are exploring ways to help protect 21st century maize by re-arming it with its ancestral chemical weapons.

The researchers, led by Dr Ted Turlings (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland), found that many varieties of modern maize have lost their ability to produce a chemical called E-β-caryophyllene. This chemical is normally produced by traditional ancestors of modern maize roots when the plant is under attack from invading corn rootworms. The chemical attracts ‘friendly’ nematode worms from the surrounding soil which, in turn, kill the corn rootworm larvae within a few days.

The scientists used genetic transformation to investigate if restoring E-β-caryophyllene emission would protect maize plants against corn rootworms. After introducing a gene from oregano, the transformed maize plants released E- β-caryophyllene constantly. As a result, these plants attracted more nematodes and suffered less damage from an infestation of Western Corn Rootworms.

“Plant defences can be direct, such as the production of toxins, or indirect, using volatile substances that attract the natural enemies of the herbivores” says lead scientist, Dr Ted Turlings (University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland). One of the types of toxins that maize plants produce against their enemies is a class of chemicals called benzoxazinoids. These protect maize against a range of insects, bacteria and fungi pests, yet some species have developed resistance against these toxins and may even exploit them to identify the most nutritious plant tissues.

These results show how knowledge of natural plant defences can be practically applied in agricultural systems. “We are studying the wild ancestor of maize (teosinte) to find out which other chemical defences may have been lost during domestication of maize” Dr Turlings added. “These lost defences might then be reintroduced into modern cultivars”.

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Logo for IPM CRSP

Annual Report 2013
Posted on May 27, 2014 by Kelly Izlar
The IPM Innovation Labs’s FY 2013 (October 1, 2012–September 30, 2013) annual report is now available. Click below to download the document.


For users with lower bandwidth and/or with interest in only certain specific topic areas, we will split individual chapters and major sections out of the Annual Report for you to view individually. Check back in the coming weeks for a list of individual chapters and sections for download. For more information contact: rmuni@vt.edu

Table of Contents

Management Entity Message
Highlights and Achievements in 2012–2013

Regional Programs
Latin America and the Caribbean
East Africa
West Africa
South Asia
Southeast Asia
Central Asia

Global Programs
International Plant Diagnostic Network (IPDN)
International Plant Virus Disease Network (IPVDN)
Impact Assessment
Gender Equity, Knowledge, and Capacity Building

Associate & Buy-In Awards

Training and Publications
Short- and Long-Term Training

Appendices: Collaborating Institutions and Acronyms

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Kathmandu Post



Integrated Pest Management has been adopted by a growing number of organic farms in all districts of Nepal

Arjun Neupane, a farmer in Dhaibung, Rasuwa, owns a farm that’s all organic. His prize produce is tomatoes, and they grow in a plastic-roofed shed that’s surrounded on all sides by marigold plants. The rest of his farmland, used for growing cauliflower and spinach, is spotted with plastic drums that house a slurry of buffalo dung and urine mixed with titepati, neem and sisnu leaves. It’s the employing of slurries of this kind that’s at the heart of a farming method called Integrated Pest Management (IPM)—a method that’s been adopted by a growing number of organic farms in all districts of Nepal.

The IPM philosophy is a simple one: It’s a way of using, as much as possible, plants (mostly those that grow in the wild) and animal waste to keep pest numbers down and fertilise the soil at the same time. The buffalo urine in the slurry, which Neupane ferries by the bucketloads to his vegetable beds, acts as a fertiliser—by adding nutrients such as ammonia in its natural form to the soil—and the plants used in the slurry kill germs and keep away animals such as rodents, with their bitterness. Live plants, too–such as the marigold plants around Neupane’s greenhouse—can be marshalled as a defensive front: in Neupane’s case, they keep at bay the nematodes, a kind of worm, which would otherwise prey on his tomatoes.

IPM took off in the late 90s in Nepal, with the government’s encouraging farmers to make use of the method as an alternative to depending on chemical fertlisers, which are harsher on the soil and whose use over time can lead to the land’s turning effete. The government knew that it had to wean the farmers off chemical fertilisers if they wanted to preserve the farmlands’ soil. The advent of globalisation had by then seen a marked increase in Nepali farmers’ switching to various types of chemical fertilisers and pesticides, which had become readily available in all markets across the country. And the farming sector had transformed from one which primarily used organic fertilisers and biological agents to one that relied increasingly on fertilisers that degraded the soil quality of the farms and which furthermore had untold adverse effects on the environment and in turn on public health.

Most farmers who use only chemical fertilisers are locked in a vicious cycle. The chemical fertilisers produce better yields, and as most other farmers now opt for using chemicals (even as they further degrade their land), they have to keep up if they want to compete in the marketplace. Furthermore, many of them have also taken to using industrial-strength pesticides to keep away pests—such as insects, disease-bearing pathogens, weeds, rodents, and mites—which are the major constraints to increasing agricultural production and which can cause productivity losses of up to 40 percent. This increase in the use of chemical pesticides ends up not only upsetting the natural balance of chemicals of the soils in the fields, but also leads to an increase in the populations of secondary pests.

It was to help those farmers who wanted to get back to using biopesticides that the concept of the IPM approach was pushed by the government. The first phase of IPM farming in Nepal was launched just before the turn of the century by the Department of Plant Resources, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives. The government was aided in its venture by various developmental partners and together they helped set up the practice for farmers in various districts, including Jhapa, Morang, Bara, Chitwan, Kapilvastu, Bardiya, Banke, Kailali, Ilam, Kavre, Syangja, Surkhet, Dadeldhura, Tanahu, Dhading, Mustang and Manang.

Ironically, the government had to sell the idea as a ‘modern’ method of farming, even though local versions of IPM were what the farmers used to work with before the farmers switched wholesale to chemical fertilisers. Wood ash, for example, has been widely used for pest control in west Nepal for generations. Today, the national IPM Programme seeks to teach the farmers how to find their way back, says Yubak Dhoj GC, a government official and former coordinator at the Plant Protection Directorate. To help farmers make the switch, the government and various non-governmental agencies have set up IPM farmer schools all across Nepal, in which farmers such as Neupane learn the science of using botanical pesticides, which can be made from more than 50 plant species readily available in Nepal: plants such as neem, marigold, titepati, sisnu, garlic and timur are used in IMP to ward off pests such as the cabbage butterfly larvae, hairy caterpillars, cutworms, red ants, termites and aphids.

Today, it is estimated that around 11,000 farmers in 17 districts have completely adopted IPM techniques and that the number is increasing at the rate of more than 10 percent each year. Thus there are quite a few farmers who are getting sold on the idea, but there still remains the challenge of helping the IPM farmers compete with those who still haven’t given up the use of chemical fertilisers. The IPM model requires more man-hours in the field; furthermore, as Neupane, says, it’s difficult for IPM farmers like him to compete with farmers who use chemical fertilisers, andwhose tomatoes look larger, redder and juicier than his.

According to GC, the IPM programme is at a crossroads now. He says the government has to play a larger role in helping farmers such as Neupane. At present, the agricultural produce grown using chemical fertilisers and the IPM methods are competing in the same markets. The government doesn’t have the mechanism in place to certify certain products as being organic. If that were to happen, Neupane thinks that he could sell his tomatoes to hotels in Dhunche, where the tourists who prefer organic produce could seek vegetables like the ones he grows.

In cities like Kathmandu, there are already many farmers who are able to sell their products in the niche markets that the organic farmers, who employ IPM, have carved for themselves. For the farmers outside the Valley, the main draw of IPM farming is that the soil will remain fertile in the long run. These farmer can only compete with those who use chemical fertilisers, says GC, if the government were to provide subsidies and help improve market access for them. “We have been successful in involving the farmers in the IPM approach but have failed to improve the accessibility to the market for their products. Thus it’s still difficult for most of them to benefit from the agriculture practice they are adopting,” says GC.

Posted on : 2014-05-03 08:15

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Posted: Apr 07, 2014 10:52 AM CDT
Updated: Apr 07, 2014 10:52 AM CDT


Investigators from the state Department of Agriculture are on the lookout for pest-ridden potato seeds in an effort to protect Nebraska’s potato industry.

Two of the state’s three potato inspectors recently quarantined nine boxes of potato seeds at a Lincoln True Value hardware store because the store’s owners didn’t have paperwork needed to prove the seeds were free of the Columbia root-knot nematode worm. The pest eats roots of plants like grasses, legumes and cereals.

Ag Department spokesperson Christin Kamm says they take seriously the need to protect Nebraska’s potato industry.


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Reported by pestnet@yahoogroups.com by Grahame Jackson <gjackson@zip.com.au>

March 5th, 2014 in Biology / Ecology

This is a root of a banana plant infected by the nematode Radopholus similis. The roundworms infect the roots and kill root tissue.



Credit: Rony Swennen and Dirk De Waele

The banana variety Yangambi km5 produces toxic substances that kill the nematode Radopholus similis, a roundworm that infects the root tissue of banana plants – to the frustration of farmers worldwide. The finding bodes well for the Grande Naine, the export banana par excellence, which is very susceptible to the roundworms.
The parasitic nematode Radopholus similis is the invisible nemesis of the banana plant, says Professor Dirk De Waele (Laboratory for Tropical Crop Improvement, KU Leuven), a co-author of the study: “This roundworm infects banana crops worldwide. The nematodes are invisible to the naked eye, but they can penetrate the roots of banana plants by the thousands. Once infected, these plants absorb less water and nutrients, resulting in yield losses of up to 75 percent. Lesions in the roots also make the plant more susceptible to other diseases. Eventually, the roots begin to rot. In the final stage of the disease, the plant topples over, its fruit bunch inexorably lost.”
Combating nematodes isn’t easy, adds Professor Rony Swennen (Laboratory for Tropical Crop Improvement, KU Leuven), another co-author: “Synthetic pesticides are toxic and expensive. Moreover, pesticides usually do not actually kill the nematodes, they just temporarily paralyze them. Nematodes can also build up resistance to pesticides.”

This is a banana field in Uganda planted with Grande Naine, a banana variety commonly sold in the supermarket. The nematode Radopholus similis infects the roots of banana plants. In the final stage of disease, the plant topples over and its fruit bunch is lost.


Credit: Rony Swennen and Dirk De Waele

While the Grande Naine is very susceptible to nematodes, other varieties are known to be resistant to them. Enter the Yangambi km5, a variety first grown in the 1950’s at a Belgian research station in Yangambi, DR Congo. The researchers compared the two banana varieties and studied their defense responses to Radopholus similis. “Researchers have always wondered how the Yangambi km5 manages to fight off roundworms,” says De Waele. “This study goes a long way in answering that.”
With colleagues at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology (Germany), the KU Leuven researchers identified which metabolites are responsible for fighting off the nematodes. “We found nine different nematode-killing metabolites in Yangambi km5. These metabolites are also produced in the Grande Naine, but much more slowly and in lesser quantities. In that banana variety, the nematodes win the fight.”
The new knowledge of metabolites will be helpful in developing edible and pest-resistant banana varieties, says Swennen. “The next step is to screen other banana varieties for metabolites. This method could also be applied to other crops and other species of nematode. Nematodes pose a growing threat to rice production in Asia, for example. Our findings also provide the industry with perspectives to develop a generation of new pesticides against nematodes.”
The researchers’ findings were published in a recent issue of the journal PNAS.
More information: PNAS DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1314168110
Provided by KU Leuven


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