Nematodes, such as the stem nematode, and fungi, such as white rot, are particularly harmful for onion crops in the Netherlands: they cause rot. Soil samples are investigated to detect this; a labour-intensive and expensive operation. Together with the Laboratory for Nematology (University of Wageningen) the company Blgg has developed a molecular technique to detect the stem nematode and white rot in soil samples.
Agricultural laboratory Blgg will start using the new system in November 2005. The system quickly and accurately measures soil samples at the molecular level. In a series of comparative trials, the molecular test had a higher detection rate than the traditional microscopic investigation for both the stem nematode and onion white rot.
Each year thousands of soil samples are investigated for their suitability for onion crops. They are examined for the presence of the nematode Ditylenchus dipsaci (the stem nematode) and the fungus Sclerotium cepivorum (onion white rot). For years this has been done visually under the microscope; a specialised and labour-intensive process.
Dr C.B. de Boer | alfa
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