Integrated management of plant-parasitic nematodes

To protect Swiss agriculture from economic losses caused by Plant-Parasitic Nematodes (PPN) and to prevent the introduction and spread of this group of pathogens, the Agroscope Nematode Research Program integrates basic and applied science to find efficient nematode management strategies. The economic impact caused by PPN can range from minor damage to total crop loss, depending on various aspects such as nematode species, nematode population, crops, and environmental factors. Phytosanitary measures for quarantine regulated PPN can also have a significant impact on the marketing and distribution of the current and following crops.

PPN have evolved and adapted over time to the different plant species and agricultural systems. The Agroscope Nematode Research Program is therefore investigating species-specific control methods for sustainable PPN control.

Different research topics address all fruit and vegetable crops studied by Agroscope such as field crops, vegetables, fruits and vineyards, where nematodes can cause significant damages. 

Nematode management

We are investigating the use of new, environmentally friendly nematode management strategies, and searching for innovative, species-specific PPN, management approaches for greenhouses and fields.

The projects include biological and chemical nematicide scouting (e.g., antagonists and plant/fungal derived chemical structures, respectively), cultural practices, and investigation of non-host plants as a potential PPN control strategy.

Diagnostic and advisory services

To further improve the limited control strategies available, we combine established and novel nematode diagnostic methods for PPN identification and pathotype testing. The PPN characterization supports the selection and recommendation of targeted control measures. 

To promote the different projects, we work in close collaboration with various partners from Agroscope, practical sectors, and national and international Universities and Research Institutes.

Furthermore, we are part of the European Union Horizon 2020 research and innovation program Valitest, which aims to provide precise descriptions and validation of plant health diagnostics tests.

To further strengthen international nematology research, we are open to new collaborations in different research fields, ranging from natural sciences to agricultural economics.