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Wrap-and-plant technology to manage sustainably potato cyst nematodes in East Africa

Juliet Ochola, Laura Cortada, Onesmus Mwaura, Meklit Tariku, Shawn A. Christensen, Margaret Ng’ang’a, Ahmed Hassanali, Tahira Pirzada, Saad Khan, Lokendra Pal, Reny Mathew, Dick Guenther, Eric Davis, Tim Sit, Danny Coyne (), Charles Opperman () and Baldwyn Torto ()
Additional contact information
Juliet Ochola: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)
Laura Cortada: Ghent University
Onesmus Mwaura: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)
Meklit Tariku: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)
Shawn A. Christensen: US Department of Agriculture
Margaret Ng’ang’a: Kenyatta University
Ahmed Hassanali: Kenyatta University
Tahira Pirzada: North Carolina State University
Saad Khan: North Carolina State University
Lokendra Pal: North Carolina State University
Reny Mathew: North Carolina State University
Dick Guenther: North Carolina State University
Eric Davis: North Carolina State University
Tim Sit: North Carolina State University
Danny Coyne: Ghent University
Charles Opperman: North Carolina State University
Baldwyn Torto: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)

Nature Sustainability, 2022, vol. 5, issue 5, 425-433

Abstract: Abstract Renewable eco-friendly options for crop protection are fundamental in achieving sustainable agriculture. Here, we demonstrate the use of a biodegradable lignocellulosic banana-paper matrix as a seed wrap for the protection of potato plants against potato cyst nematode (PCN), Globodera rostochiensis. Potato cyst nematodes are devastating quarantine pests of potato globally. In East Africa, G. rostochiensis has recently emerged as a serious threat to potato production. Wrapping seed potatoes within the lignocellulose banana-paper matrix substantially reduced G. rostochiensis field inoculum and increased potato yields by up to fivefold in Kenya, relative to farmer practice, whether or not impregnated with ultra-low doses of the nematicide abamectin (ABM). Markedly, ABM-treated banana paper at ~1,000 times lower than conventional recommendations reduced PCN inoculum. Assays and analyses revealed that the lignocellulose matrix disrupts parasite–host chemical signalling by adsorbing critical PCN hatching and infective juvenile host location chemicals present in potato root exudate. Recovery experiments confirmed adsorption of these host location chemicals. Our study demonstrates the use of waste organic material to sustainably manage PCN, and potentially other crop root pests, while increasing potato yields.

Date: 2022
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DOI: 10.1038/s41893-022-00852-5

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