New project: Populationgenetics of plant parasitic nematodes

Published on
June 16, 2021

The Top Sector Agri & Food has approved four new research proposals from BO Akkerbouw. One of these was written by Mark Sterken and Jaap Bakker. This involves research and dissemination of knowledge about soil, fertilization, stem nematodes and crop residues.

Signals from the agri- and horticultural sector indicate that stem nematodes, an RNQP organism, are increasingly causal to agronomic losses. Stem nematodes (Ditylenchus dipsaci) affect many different plant species including bulbous plants, such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinths and onions, but also maize, potatoes, carrots, sugar beets, legumes and various green fertilizer crops. More than 20 ‘races’ of stem nematodes are known worldwide, which are characterized by the degree of multiplication on a range of host plants. The composition of stem nematode races existing in the Netherlands is currently unknown. There is also a lack of insight into the speed at which virulent genotypes are selected. Together with the taboo on reporting symptoms and/or damage from possible RNQP organisms, the sector believes that stem nematodes are a threat for the development of resilient cultivation systems. The aim of this project is the molecular unraveling of the host plant status of the stem nematode races in the Netherlands, which makes it possible to: i) draw up sustainable crop-rotations, ii) provide field-specific cultivation advice based on a rapid diagnostic test, iii) timely phytosanitary measures, and iv) perform targeted and efficient testing and breeding for resistant host plants, including green fertilizers.