Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Techniques available to detect soil that inhibits destructive soybean pest

04.07.2005


Female soybean cyst nematodes, attached to the roots of the plants and filled with eggs, are white. The nematodes turn brown as their bodies become cysts harboring the eggs that hatch into juveniles, which continue the cycle of stealing nutrients from the plants. (Photo/Andreas Westphal, Purdue University)


Identification of soils that inhibit a tiny soybean-destroying organism is an important tool in reducing yield losses, according to a Purdue University plant pathologist.

Soybean cyst nematodes cause between $800 million and $1 billion annually in crop losses in the United States, according the American Phytopathological Society. However, techniques are available to find soils that specifically suppress these microscopic roundworms, said Andreas Westphal, assistant professor of plant pathology. The female nematodes are white, lemon-shaped parasites that become dead brown shells filled with maturing eggs. Some soils have as yet not-understood characteristics that don’t foster development of the pests.

Westphal, whose research focuses on soybean cyst nematodes and ways to thwart them, said that using nematode-suppressive soils is an easily implemented, environmentally friendly weapon in fighting the parasites, which are found worldwide in soybean-producing areas.



"Using plants bred to resist pests is not the complete answer, so it’s important to find suppressive mechanisms," Westphal said. "Bio-control is much more desirable than using chemicals in order to limit damage to the environment."

In a paper published in the just-released March 2005 issue of the Journal of Nematology, Westphal summarizes the techniques for identifying soil that specifically suppresses soybean cyst nematodes. He also discusses how to use nematode-suppressive soils to battle the root-dwelling pests and the limitations of the techniques.

In previous research on a different cyst nematode, Westphal and his colleagues determined that mixing 1 percent to 10 percent of nematode-suppressive soil into the top layer of a soybean field plot effectively decreased nematode activity. In addition, they know that viability of plants and soil richness, moisture and temperature can affect how active and numerous soybean cyst nematodes are in particular fields.

"A key find was that a small amount of suppressive soil or a cyst from a suppressive soil can lower nematode numbers," Westphal said. "We promote conditions in soil to suppress the nematode, and we also study the soil so that we can determine the mechanisms that create suppression."

Some types of fungi and other organisms help keep the soil healthy by feeding on nematodes. Whether a field is tilled can affect nematode population density, but it’s not yet known whether this is related to a change in the number of nematode-eating microbes, Westphal said. Further study is needed on how microbial communities function in order to determine conditions that contribute to nematode development.

Westphal was able to confirm the nematode supressiveness of soil by using treatments to eliminate soil organisms and other elements that inhibit nematode development. Another confirmation technique was to add suppressive soil to soils conducive to nematode development. The researchers also were able to document reduced nematode reproduction, population density, and whether certain types of soil were suppressive to specific pathogens.

"Currently, we are extending this research to finding ways to create more nematode suppression in soil," Westphal said. "This is important because nematode populations constantly change so they can overcome certain types of resistance, including even plants that are bred to be resistant to the organisms."

Westphal and his research team conducted a survey throughout Indiana to locate nematode-suppressive soils in an effort to make this tool more available and to further study the mechanisms that create its effectiveness against the pathogen.

Soybean cyst nematodes, one of a large, diverse group of multicellular organisms, are the most destructive soybean pathogen in the United States. The nematodes were first documented in Japan in the early 20th century and first reported in the United States in 1954. However, evolutionary biologists believe the pests were probably present in both areas as much as thousands of years earlier.

The females of the species use a short, hypodermic needle-like mouth to pierce soybean roots and suck out the nutrients. As the adult female ages, she fills with eggs, turns yellow and then brown to become the nematode cyst. At that point her body is a case to protect hundreds of eggs while they mature, hatch into juveniles and leave the cyst to further attack the plant roots. Swollen females can be seen with the naked eye, but worm-like juveniles and males can best be seen with a microscope.

As nematodes steal nutrients from the roots, the plants are weakened and don’t grow well. Subsequently, plants may be more vulnerable to attack by other stresses, such as insects, diseases and drought.

It’s often impossible to see symptoms of soybean cyst nematode damage, so soil and roots must be tested to reveal or confirm the pests’ presence. Infestation gradually causes progressively lower yields and the worst cases result in yellow and stunted soybean plants. Plants with severe, visible damage can occur in patches in highly infested fields.

There are no pesticides that will eradicate soybean cyst nematode, which also preys on other legumes and some grasses.

The United States Department of Agriculture is providing funding for Westphal’s study of the soybean cyst nematode.

Susan A. Steeves | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Energy crop production on conservation lands may not boost greenhouse gases
13.03.2017 | Penn State

nachricht How nature creates forest diversity
07.03.2017 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

When Air is in Short Supply - Shedding light on plant stress reactions when oxygen runs short

23.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Researchers use light to remotely control curvature of plastics

23.03.2017 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Sea ice extent sinks to record lows at both poles

23.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>