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Bacteria Tapped To Battle Crop-Damaging Roundworms

Beneficial bacteria, aided by a "cocktail" of potent natural compounds, may offer a way to biologically control soybean cyst nematodes and other crop-damaging roundworms. That's the implication of ongoing studies by scientists with the Agricultural Research Service (ARS) and the Donald Danforth Plant Science Center (DDPSC) in St. Louis, Mo.

Petri dish tests and live-plant experiments at the St. Louis research center showed that the bacteria—members of the genus Pseudomonas—caused the nematodes to stop moving and, in some cases, disintegrate.

Phenazines, hydrogen cyanide and phloroglucinols are among the Pseudomonas compounds being examined for their biocontrol activity against the nematodes. However, no single compound has emerged as the sole cause of the worms’ demise, notes plant geneticist Patricia Okubara, with the ARS Root Disease and Biological Control Research Unit in Pullman, Wash.
 
 

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