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Main research question/goal
Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne) are the most important group of plant-parasitic nematodes. In Flanders, they threaten economically important crops such as potato, carrot and salsify. The aim of this research is to build thorough knowledge about their biology and population dynamics, in order to achieve a timely detection and a correct identification, appropriate crop rotations, control and limitation of their spread. The research is done in cooperation with European partners. We compare our extraction methods and qPCR techniques through ring tests. We focus mainly on M. chitwoodi, M. fallax and M. hapla because they are the main species in Flanders. M. chitwoodi and M. fallax are also quarantine pests. For greenhouse cultures we focus primarily on organic agriculture (field vegetables) where mostly tropical species (M. javanica, M. arenaria, …) are present.

Research approach
We study the population dynamics of root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne) in crop rotations, to optimize the time of sampling and the knowledge of the host status of different crops. With the study of the life cycle and biology, we can estimate the number of generations per growing season. We examine the the resistance against M. chitwoodi, M. fallax and M. hapla in vegetable crops and rotations. We investigate the survival in secondary flows of the processing industry and develop techniques to prevent spread. We also study alternative cropping techniques such as "agro-ecological service crops" and organic soil improvers that can limit the damage of these nematodes. 

The acquired knowledge allows control of existing infestations and prevention of further spread. Appropriate crop rotations, sampling strategies, proper identification and resistance studies provide an alternative to chemical control. The scientific evidence supports existing phytosanitary measures or contributes to their development both at a national and international (European) level.
Effective start/end date1/01/0531/12/17

ID: 4162571