Biological control of plant pathogenic nematodes
Biological control of plant pathogenic nematodes in organic crop production by the nematode-parasitizing fungus Clonostachys rosea
Plant diseases caused by nematodes are a serious constraint to sustainable crop production, and the persistent nature of these soil borne diseases can make a soil virtually useless for production of certain crops.
To grow crops in a sustainable way is increasingly important to ensure food safety in the world. On the picture is a carrot field in Gotland, Sweden. Photo: Annika Gustafsson.
Diseases caused by nematodes are expected to increase with warmer and wetter conditions caused by climate change, especially in organic crop production.
In this project we aim to explore the potential for biological control of plant-pathogenic nematodes under Swedish conditions, using the nematode parasitizing fungus Clonostachys rosea, an organism which is also being used for biological control of fungal plant diseases. The effect on the nematode community and plant disease symptoms of soil application of the fungus will be studied in naturally infected field soils, with the culturable root knot nematode Meolidogyne hapla as a reference system.
Interactions between the fungus and different nematode life stages will be studied in vitro, in situ and in planta using advanced microscopy and gfp-tagged fungal strains. Gene expression of the fungus and the plant during the interactions will be studied using modern tools, to identify key candidate enzymes secreted by the fungus when in contact with the nematodes, and if induced resistance mechanisms in the plant have a part in the biological control effect. Field trials will be conducted to evaluate the efficacy of biological control under practical conditions.
This project is financed by FORMAS