Research

An initial assessment of a novel class of a low risk pesticide, BGT, on potato cyst nematodes

Abstract

This project will be evaluating the effects of a novel nematicide (BGT) on potato cyst nematodes using laboratory, glasshouse and field based experiments. (PhD Student: Victoria Taylor)

Description

Potatoes are an essential crop in the UK and around the world.  In 2010, 6,045,000 tons of potatoes were produced in the UK (FAO, 2010).  In the 12 months to February 2012, £3,571,854,000 worth of potato products was sold in the UK, ranging from fresh loose potatoes to processed crisps and snacks (Potato Council, 2012b), and 10.3 billion meals containing potatoes were consumed in homes around the UK in the 12 months to November 2011 (Potato Council, 2012a).

Potato cyst nematodes (Globodera rostochiensis and G. pallida) are a factor limiting the efficient production of potatoes in the UK.  In a study of UK potato farms in 2002, 64% of the 484 sites sampled contained Globodera cysts (Minnis et al., 2002).  In 2009 the Potato Council calculated that losses from PCN damage would rise from £25.9 million to £58.2 million if granular nematicides became unavailable (Twining et al. 2009).  The two very closely related species are not limited to the UK, and can be found throughout most of the world (Turner and Evans, 1998).  The effects of infection of potato plants with PCN are varied and stem from the invasion and damage of roots.  This reduces the uptake of nutrients and water, thus causing reduced growth and yield.  The visible symptoms include stunted shoot growth, smaller leaves and wilting (Turner and Evans, 1998).  The systemic changes that occur within host plants during invasion and feeding of PCN can also make host plants more susceptible to attack by fungal pathogens (Back et al. 2002).

 PCN management is complex and multifaceted.  The aim is to reduce their population beneath the damage threshold.  Historically, nematicides have been successfully used to control populations of PCN, but their future is uncertain under changing EU legislation and pressure from supermarkets for reduced usage.  Currently, there is a gap in the market for a nematicide that is effective, not harmful to the environment, humans or animals, but is economical

A novel mixture (BGT) of cationic surfactants, non-ionic surfactants and biocides has been proposed  as an alternative nematicide.  The aims of this research are:

  1. Evaluate the effect of BGT and it’s components on the mortality, mobility and hatching of potato cyst nematodes in vitro
  2. Determine the optimum formulation and concentration of BGT for peak nematicidal activity
  3. Evaluation of BGT in vivo
  4. Determine the mode of action of BGT on PCN
  5. Determine the persistence of BGT in soil
  6. Determine a suitable protocol for BGT in vivo
  7. Evaluate if BGT has potential as a novel nematicide for use on potatoes

 

Funding Body

Arcis Biotechnology Ltd

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