Julius Kühn-Institut (JKI)
Federal Research Centre
for Cultivated Plants
Prof. Dr. Peter Zwerger
38104 Braunschweig, Germany
Mr Timo Holze and Ms Patrizia Lauke
Tel: +49 (0)3946 47-6401/6402
Fax: +49 (0)3946 47-6403
Branch offices in
Stahnsdorfer Damm 81
14532 Kleinmachnow, Germany
Tel: +49 (0)33203 48-0
Fax: +49 (0)33203 48-425
Dürener Straße 71
50189 Elsdorf/Rhld., Germany
Tel: +49 (0)2274 6446
Fax: +49 (0)2274 826-05
Nematodes cause vast yield losses in field crops. The diagnosis of nematode damage is difficult as symptoms are unspecific and nematodes can only be detected at high magnification under the microscope. Due to their plant parasitic habit nematodes are associated with plant roots and the soil. Thus nematodes are difficult to control. Applied biological research is the focus of the nematology group aiming at the development of control strategies against plant parasitic nematodes in field crops
Nematodes occur in various habitats and belong to one of the most species-rich animal organisms on earth. Approximately 4,000 species are known as plant parasites. Due to their difficult detection and unspecific symptoms, the significance of plant parasitic nematodes for damage of field crops is largely underestimated. Nematodes have major economic relevance for potatoes, sugar beet and cereal crops.
The actual importance of nematodes as pests of cultivated plants is probably by far greater than currently known.
Applying a specific control strategy presumes the diagnosis of a pest. Therefore novel methods for diagnosis and detection of nematodes are of great importance. As a basis of modern control methods, a part of our research program focuses on the development of damage prediction models and diagnostic tools based on remote sensing and other phenotyping techniques.
In cases where damage in crops occurs, a primary goal is the maintenance of nematode population densities below the damage threshold density. This can be achieved through agronomic measures like sowing time, crop rotation, selection of cultivar. Further actions should be taken additionally.
While biologic control measures often base on a specific mechanism in the soil or plant, nematicides show a broad impact, that can even affect other organisms. We thoroughly investigate effectiveness and mode of action of these methods, which is a crucial factor for the development of an environmentally friendly nematode management.
One of the most essential elements in controlling nematodes is the cultivation of resistant crops and resistant catch crops. A main task of our group therefore is the official validation of plant resistance against major nematode pests. We improve and modify methods to test and evaluate resistance as a continuous adaptation to cropping practices and biological changes of nematode populations (resistance breaking pathotypes).