Developing sustainable systems for nematode management

Annu Rev Phytopathol. 1998;36:165-205. doi: 10.1146/annurev.phyto.36.1.165.


Early researchers identified key concepts and developed tactics for multiple-option management of nematodes. Although the emphasis on integrated pest management over the past three decades has promoted strategies and tactics for nematode management, comprehensive studies on the related soil biology-ecology are relatively recent. Traditional management tactics include host resistance (where available), cultural tactics such as rotation with nonhosts, sanitation and avoidance, and destruction of residual crop roots, and the judicious use of nematicides. There have been advances in biological control of nematodes, but field-scale exploitation of this tactic remains to be realized. New technologies and resources are currently becoming central to the development of sustainable systems for nematode-pest-crop management: molecular diagnostics for nematode identification, genetic engineering for host resistance, and the elucidation and application of soil biology for general integrated cropping systems. The latter strategy includes the use of nematode-pest antagonistic cover crops, animal wastes, and limited tillage practices that favor growth-promoting rhizobacteria, earthworms, predatory mites, and other beneficial organisms while suppressing parasitic nematodes and other plant pathogens. Certain rhizobacteria may induce systemic host resistance to nematodes and, in some instances, to foliage pathogens. The systems focusing on soil biology hold great promise for sustainable crop-nematode management, but only a few research programs are currently involved in this labor-intensive endeavor.