Fungal Biological Control Agent
A fungal biological control agent has been identified that is effective against multiple nematode species and is an alternative to nematicides. The endoparasitic fungus Hirsutella minnesotensis was discovered to be a parasite of the soybean cyst nematode (SCN). The fungal biocontrol not only works on SCN, but studies on root knot nematode (RKN) populations have demonstrated a 61-98% level of suppression of these damaging nematodes. This biocontrol has the potential for use where pesticides are undesirable or strictly regulated.
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Nematode Biocontrol Alternative to Nematicides
SCN and RKN are extremely serious soil-borne pests causing huge losses on US vegetable crops each year. The SCN is known to damage on the order of billions of dollars annually worldwide. Not only do these pests impact the quantity and quality of marketable yields, but they also interact with other plant pathogens to increase the damage caused by other diseases. Because no single control mechanism to manage these pests exists, farmers are forced to employ multiple complex control mechanisms with limited effectiveness.
BENEFITS OF NEMATODE BIOLOGICAL CONTROL AGENT:
- Broad host range; is effective against many nematode pest species.
- Eliminates need for farmers to use nematicides or genetically modified strains. Is a safe alternative to methyl bromide treatment.
- Can be used on multiple vegetable species, including tomatoes, cucumber, celery, and soybean.
- Treatment is effective after only one application at planting.
- Has flexibility in delivery mode; can be delivered as a liquid or solid.