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.
Susan A. Steeves | EurekAlert!
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