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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Critical Issues and Research Needs for Expanding the Use of Nematodes in Biocontrol

Authors
item Grewal, Parwinder - OHIO STATE UNIV
item Ehlers, Ralf-Udo - RAISDORF, GERMANY
item Shapiro Ilan, David

Submitted to: Nematodes as Biological Control Agents
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: March 6, 2005
Publication Date: December 7, 2005
Citation: Grewal, P.S., Ehlers, R., Shapiro Ilan, D.I. 2005. Critical issues and research needs for expanding the use of nematodes in biocontrol. In Grewal, P., Ehlers, R-U, Shapiro-Ilan, D. (eds.) Nematodes as Biological Control Agents. p. 479-489. CABI Publishing.

Interpretive Summary: Several families of nematodes (small round worms) are important natural control agents of pest insects, mollusks, plant-parasitic nematodes, and soil borne fungal pathogens of plants. For example, entomopathogenic nematodes in particular have emerged as excellent biological control agents of soil-dwelling insect pests. They are now used in citrus groves, strawberry plantations, cranberry bogs, production nurseries, greenhouses, and turfgrass for the management of important insect pests. However, it is our assessment that the nematodes are underutilized in pest control programs and their biocontrol potential can be further expanded substantially. Barriers to expanded nematode use as natural control agents include high production costs, limited product availability, sub-optimal ease of use and sub-optimal efficacy in pest control. Approaches to overcome these problems that are being adopted or under investigation include improved formulation, improved delivery systems, development of superior nematode strains, and combination of nematodes with synergistic agents (such as certain chemical insecticides).

Technical Abstract: Several families of nematodes are important biocontrol agents of pest insects, mollusks, plant-parasitic nematodes, and soil borne fungal pathogens of plants. For example, entomopathogenic nematodes (in the families Steinernematidae and Heterorhabditidae) in particular have emerged as excellent biocontrol agents of soil-dwelling insect pests. They are now used in citrus groves, strawberry plantations, cranberry bogs, production nurseries, greenhouses, and turfgrass for the management of important insect pests. Additionally, other families, genera or species are being used in pest control or have shown promise such as Beddingia siricidicola, Thripinema spp., slug-parasitic nematodes, and mermithids However, it is our assessment that the nematodes are underutilized in pest control programs and their biocontrol potential can be further expanded substantially. Barriers to expanded nematode use as biocontrol agents include high production costs, limited product availability, sub-optimal ease of use and sub-optimal efficacy in pest control. Approaches to overcome these problems that are being adopted or are under investigation include improved formulation (e.g., to prevent desiccation), improved delivery systems (such as application in infected-hosts), development of superior nematode strains (such as through genetic improvement methods), conservation methods, and combination of nematodes with synergistic agents (such as certain chemical insecticides).

Last Modified: 4/20/2014