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ARS Home » Plains Area » College Station, Texas » Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center » Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research » Research » Research Project #442402

Research Project: Influence of Soil Microbiota and Entomopathogenic Nematodes on Cotton Defensive Chemical Production

Location: Insect Control and Cotton Disease Research

Project Number: 3091-22000-038-069-S
Project Type: Non-Assistance Cooperative Agreement

Start Date: Sep 1, 2022
End Date: Aug 30, 2025

Many defensive chemicals are naturally produced by cotton to protect plants against diseases and insects. The objectives of this project are to determine if the soil microbiome community and presence of entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs) influence production of defensive chemicals (e.g., gossypol) in the roots and leaves of cotton plants and to determine if EPNs and the soil microbiome influence root-knot nematode populations and subsequent production of above-ground cotton chemical defenses.

Work under this cooperative project will improve our understanding of how the soil microbiome and presence of EPNs influence plant parasitic nematodes (PPN; e. g., root-knot nematodes) and the production of natural cotton defensive chemicals which may be exploited to help manage cotton diseases and insect pests. Specifically, we will identify the microbiome community from soil with a history of cotton production vs the microbiota of soil obtained from the same field but with no history of cotton production. Potted cotton plants will receive one of the two sources of the soil microbiota, along with EPNs, PPNs, or both types of nematodes. To evaluate how the soil microbiota and EPNs influence PPNs and production of plant chemical defensives, we will count root-knot nematode eggs and nodules on the root of plants as well as measure the production of terpene aldehydes in the roots and leaves of cotton plants for the various treatments. All experiments will be conducted in a greenhouse or environmental plant growth chambers.