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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Mycology and Nematology Genetic Diversity and Biology Laboratory » Research » Research Project #432602

Research Project: Molecular Systematics, Identification, Biology, and Management of Crop-Parasitic Nematodes

Location: Mycology and Nematology Genetic Diversity and Biology Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-22000-300-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Feb 27, 2017
End Date: Feb 26, 2022

Objective 1: Identify and characterize nematode proteins and lipids that inhibit the metabolic pathways critical to fundamental processes in plant-parasitic nematodes. Sub-objective 1A: Discover and characterize endogenous nematode agonists or antagonists, including bioactive peptides, which affect metabolism and behavior. Sub-objective 1B: Characterize protease and other enzyme profiles in plant-parasitic nematodes, and determine their roles and modes of action in regulating development and hatching. Sub-objective 1C. Identify lipids and steroids with likely regulatory roles in plant-parasitic nematodes and design methods to disrupt this regulation. Objective 2: Improve the effectiveness of nematode management based on amendments and beneficial organisms, and by identifying and characterizing plant, microbe or nematode products antagonistic to nematodes. Sub-objective 2A: Evaluate cover crops, soil amendments and microbes for suppressing plant-parasitic nematode populations on agricultural crops. Sub-objective 2B: Determine effects of natural products from plants, microbes, and nematodes on plant-parasitic nematodes, and evaluate selected nematode-antagonistic products as potential nematotoxins. Objective 3: Assay and analyze the variability in DNA genetic markers across nematode taxa to ascertain those markers optimal for identifying priority crop parasitic nematodes and for refining their phylogenies. [NP303, C1, PS1] Objective 4: Apply microscopic and DNA genetic marker methods to a diversity of crop parasitic nematode taxa and specimens to identify unknown specimens and to improve diagnostic approaches. [NP303, C1, PS1] Objective 5: Identify and describe invasive and emerging plant-parasitic nematodes from forage and biomass legumes, turf, grasses, and associated rotation crops - including species of quarantine significance - to enable specific and timely management of these pests. [NP303, C1, PS1] Objective 6: Improve molecular methodologies for the identification and classification of nematodes from forage legumes and grasses in order to better predict and respond to nematode outbreaks and to improve detection and diagnostic methodologies to distinguish closely related or morphologically similar species. [NP303, C1, PS1]

1. Discovering and characterizing internal plant parasitic nematode regulatory molecules, including peptides, proteases, inhibitors, and nematode-unique lipids and steroids, that act as effectors of behavior, development, hatching and metabolism, will provide novel targets for disruption of nematode life processes. Analyzing external signals, including plant chemicals, and their interactions with internal nematode pathways, will expand the number of molecular targets for nematode control. 2. Evaluating cover crops, soil amendments, microbes, and other beneficial agents, and improving strategies for their application, will lead to enhanced plant-parasitic nematode suppression and improved plant yields. Assessing the biological effects of selected beneficial organisms, and the analysis of natural products from plant, microbial and nematode origins, will reveal novel nematotoxins and other suppressive agents for plant-parasitic nematode control and agricultural crop protection. 3. Expanding ribosomal and nuclear gene sequences to more nematode species beyond the relatively few in GenBank will produce more informative family trees demonstrating the distribution of plant parasitism for improved pathology prediction. 4. Advanced microscopy techniques and appropriately selected and designed DNA genetic markers will reveal more detailed features and increase consistency of nematode description for improved diagnosis of nematodes that may damage agriculturally important plants.