Knocking Out Root-Not Nematodes

Purdue University researchers find answer to a new soybean pest.

The university researchers have identified several soybean varieties that grow well in areas of the Midwest like southern Indiana and are resistant to root-knot nematodes, a plant-destroying parasite with a recently confirmed presence in that part of the state.

The researchers verified that resistance in soybeans to one nematode parasite doesn’t predict how well the plant will fight off another nematode species, says Andreas Westphal, assistant professor of plant pathology. Some of the varieties also were resistant to soybean cyst nematode.

Root-knot nematodes infect soybeans in sandy loam soil and also reproduce on corn and the highly root-knot nematode-sensitive watermelon, two other major cash crops in the southern part of Indiana. The area, along with additional parts of the state, also suffers from other nematodes, including the soybean cyst nematode. Root-knot nematodes are responsible for a loss of 93,000 tons of soybeans annually in the U.S.

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