23 May 1997

Suicide sprays slam nematodes

SUICIDE hatching of potato cyst nematode caused by spraying chemicals on to the soil can kill up to 90% of nematode populations.

For the past seven years, BioResearch Ireland has studied the use of so-called hatching factor chemicals, which are based on potato root excretions. Applying those to infested soil in the absence of the nematodes food plant (potato), prompts nematodes to hatch, but then die within two weeks in the absence of food.

Pot and field trials achieved hatch and death of more than 90% of the PCN population within four weeks of application, says BRI. Combining conventional nematicides with HFs gives significantly better control of Globodera pallida, by inducing earlier hatch. Reduced levels of nematicide are also possible.

BRI plans to commercialise the development. &#42