The past, present and future of plant nematology in International Agricultural Research Centres

This month we stick with nematology for our monthly feature, and are pleased to present a major review article written by Shashi Sharma of the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) [] and Nigel Price and John Bridge of the International Institute of Parasitology.

This article reviews the plant parasitic nematodes of the major mandate crops of the International Agricultural Research Centres, which include 19 of the world's key staple crops such as rice, wheat, maize, potato and barley, and discusses the problems faced by those working in plant nematology around the world.  It emphasises the damage caused by plant parasitic nematodes, the "unseen enemies" of crops; nematologists have estimated that they cause crop yield losses at nearly 9% in the developed world and at over 14% in developing countries.  Despite this, the authors argue that plant nematology is a sorely neglected science within the IARCs, with the number of nematologists remaining static over the last twenty years, while staff numbers overall have increased by 250% in the same period.

The authors go on to discuss why plant nematology has been accorded such a low profile over the years and argue for an increased recognition of the work carried out by plant nematologists worldwide. The authors further discuss the significant contribution nematology can make to various aspects of the current research agenda of the IARCs and highlight the importance of including a consideration of nematode problems in future IARC attempts at developing more intensive yet sustainable agricultural production systems.  The scientific and institutional structures and linkages relevant to such activities are considered and the article is supported by an extensive bibliography of references.

The full-text of this major Review Article is available to all PEST CABWeb® registered users as a PDF file.  Select this link to download PDF Article (257k)

Additional related items included in PEST CABWeb®:

Information is also available on:

  • Soilborne Diseases of Tropical Crops, edited by R. J. Hillocks, J. M. Waller
  • Root-Knot Nematode Taxonomic Database, by Dr. Jonathan D. Eisenback
  • Nematode Vectors of Plant Viruses, by C. E. Taylor, D. J. F. Brown

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