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New transparent soil technology to help fight nematodes and other soil pests

Nematode (c) James Hutton Institute
“Our system provides an extremely useful and rapid tool to help in the search for new, more environmentally acceptable plant protection products”

Scientists from the James Hutton Institute have developed a screening system which uses transparent soil technology to help fight nematodes - microscopic worms that are harmful to plants, damaging about 10% of susceptible crops and causing hundreds of billions of pounds of losses worldwide in a year.

Building on previous transparent soil research, the team reproduced soil conditions in the laboratory, in a drive to examine the responses of various nematode species to chemical compounds and speed up the development of next-generation treatments that could be used to protect plants against nematodes and other pests and diseases.

Study leader Dr Lionel Dupuy, of the James Hutton Institute’s Ecological Sciences group in Dundee, said: “This is just the beginning of the development of a new generation of fast and simple laboratory assays for testing the efficacy of soil compounds.

“We have demonstrated that our techniques can detect microscopic biological activity in soil samples, and are now working very hard to extend our techniques to the analysis of other soil-inhabiting organisms.”

Dr Stuart MacFarlane, project leader, commented: “We need to find new ways to control harmful nematodes that feed on crop plants in the field.

“Our system provides an extremely useful and rapid tool to help in the search for new, more environmentally acceptable plant protection products.”

The project is funded by the by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) Horticulture and Potato Initiative and involved the universities of Leeds and York.

The paper "New live screening of plant-nematode interactions in the rhizosphere" is available from Nature’s Scientific Reports journal.

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Bernardo Rodriguez-Salcedo, Media Manager, Tel: +44 (0)1224 395089 (direct line), +44 (0)344 928 5428 (switchboard) or +44 (0)7791 193918 (mobile).

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Printed from /news/new-transparent-soil-technology-help-fight-nematodes-and-other-soil-pests on 16/06/19 03:35:32 AM

The James Hutton Research Institute is the result of the merger in April 2011 of MLURI and SCRI. This merger formed a new powerhouse for research into food, land use, and climate change.