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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 #441899

Research Project: Plant-associated Nematode Management and Systematics and USDA Nematode Collection Curation

Location: Mycology and Nematology Genetic Diversity and Biology Laboratory

Project Number: 8042-22000-322-000-D
Project Type: In-House Appropriated

Start Date: Feb 27, 2022
End Date: Feb 26, 2027

Objective 1. Improve molecular methodologies for the identification and classification of nematodes to better predict and respond to nematode outbreaks in food and forage crops. (NP303, C1, PS1B) Objective 2. Curate and expand the USDA Nematode Collection, including enhancing the availability of web-based research information to support accurate morphological nematode identification. (Service-oriented; NP303, C1, PS1B) Objective 3: Identify and determine the efficacy of management approaches, natural products, and beneficial organisms for managing plant-parasitic nematodes. (NP303, C3, PS3B). Sub-objective 3A: Evaluate cover crops, soil amendments, and beneficial microbes for suppressing plant-parasitic nematode populations on agricultural crops. Sub-objective 3B: Determine effects of natural products on plant-parasitic nematodes, and evaluate selected products as potential nematotoxins.

Plant-parasitic nematodes pose a serious threat to crop productivity in the U.S., causing extensive reductions in yield and quality. This project comprises a multifaceted approach to identifying nematodes of food and forage crops and controlling the damage they cause. Accurate nematode identifications will be achieved through (1) analysis of acquired morphological and molecular data; (2) molecular phylogenetic studies aimed at clarifying or establishing evolutionary relationships and species boundaries; and (3) combining the above with biogeographic, pathogenicity, and host range data to achieve integrated phylogenetic schemes to improve risk assessments and tracking of emerging nematode outbreaks. The service component activities within this project will (4) provide authoritative identification of plant-associated nematodes to USDA-ARS, USDA-APHIS, and other state and federal researchers and action agencies; and (5) provide reference specimens from the USDA Nematode Collection to scientists around the world. The USDA Nematode Collection and database will be expanded and modernized through (6) digital documentation of slides, drawings, and associated specimen information. Moreover, (7) we will attempt recovery of DNA from formalin-fixed specimens to liberate a previously untapped source of molecular information from key collection specimens. Novel molecular targets for nematode control, including genes involved in key nematode life processes or parasitism will be identified via (8) genomic and transcriptomic methods and next-generation sequencing. New bio-based methods to control plant-parasitic nematodes and improved strategies for their application will be identified through (9) evaluation of cover crops, soil amendments, microbes, and other beneficial agents; or through (10) isolation and analysis of natural products from plant, microbial and nematode origins to identify nematotoxic compounds or other agents with nematode-suppressive activity.