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Applications of entomopathogenic nematodes for a sustainable control of soil insect pests

Applicant Turlings Théodoor
Number 143065
Funding scheme NRP 68 Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource
Research institution Institut de Biologie Faculté des Sciences Université de Neuchâtel
Institution of higher education University of Neuchatel - NE
Main discipline Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Start/End 01.04.2013 - 31.03.2016
Approved amount 573'444.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Agricultural and Forestry Sciences
Ecology
Environmental Research

Keywords (6)

Biological control; Crop protection; Plant defense; Entomopathogenic nematodes; Tritrophic interactions; Nematodes

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Das Pflanzenschutzpotenzial der Mikroorganismen, die in grosser Vielfalt im Boden vorkommen, ist nicht ausgeschöpft. Ted Turlings und sein Team beschäftigen sich mit so genannten entomopathogenen Nematoden (EPN), winzigen Fadenwürmern, die bodenbewohnende Insekten abtöten können. Das Team erfasst dazu die Häufigkeit und die Arten dieser Nematoden an mehreren Standorten und prüft, ob sie sich für den Einsatz in der biologischen Schädlingsbekämpfung eignen.
Lay summary

Schädlinge, die Wurzeln von Kulturpflanzen befallen, sind mit Pestiziden nur schwer erreichbar. Im Boden lebt jedoch eine grosse Vielfalt von Mikroorganismen, die einen wichtigen Beitrag zum Pflanzenschutz leisten könnten. Die biologische Schädlingsbekämpfung vermochte bisher jedoch nur beschränkt aus diesem Umstand einen Nutzen zu ziehen.

Das Forschungsteam will herausfinden, wie das vorhandene Potenzial der nützlichen Bodenorganismen besser ausgeschöpft werden kann. Es konzentriert sich dabei auf so genannte entomopathogene Nematoden (EPN), winzige Fadenwürmer, die im Boden lebende Insekten abtöten können. Je nach Leistungsfähigkeit in verschiedenen Bodentypen könnten sie in der Schädlingsbekämpfung eingesetzt werden. Das Projekt erfasst deshalb das Vorkommen von EPN in Bezug auf Artenzusammensetzung und -dichten an ausgewählten Standorten in der Schweiz. In verschiedenen Bodentypen werden die Wirksamkeit und die Verweildauer von EPN ermittelt, die heute schon auf dem Markt angeboten werden. Schliesslich soll die positive Wirkung von EPN optimiert und in Zusammenarbeit mit den Forschungsteams von Marcel van der Heijden (Agroscope ART) sowie Monika Maurhofer und Christoph Keel (ETH Zürich/Universität Lausanne) mit der Anwendung anderer nützlicher Mikroorganismen (Bakterien, symbiontische Pilze) kombiniert werden.

Das Projekt analysiert eine Vielzahl von Bodenorganismen unter Feldbedingungen und erweitert damit die bisherigen Kenntnisse über das Zusammenspiel einzelner Mikroorganismen und Pflanzen im Wurzelbereich, die weitgehend auf Labor- und Gewächshausversuchen beruhen. Es soll aufzeigen, inwieweit sich Bodenqualität und Ertrag durch den Einsatz von entomopathogenen Nematoden verbessern lassen. Dies ist für Firmen von Interesse, die umweltschonende Pflanzenschutzmittel entwickeln.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.05.2013

Lay Summary (French)

Lead
Le potentiel phytosanitaire des micro-organismes présents en nombre dans le sol n’est pas épuisé. Ted Turlings et son équipe s’intéressent aux nématodes entomopathogènes, de minuscules filaires qui peuvent tuer les insectes vivant dans le sol. L’équipe recense la fréquence et les espèces de ces nématodes dans plusieurs sites et se demande s’ils peuvent être utilisés dans le cadre de la lutte biologique contre les parasites.
Lay summary

Les nuisibles qui contaminent les racines des plantes cultivées sont difficiles à combattre au moyen de pesticides. Mais dans le sol vivent de nombreux micro-organismes qui pourraient contribuer de manière significative à la protection des cultures. Pourtant, la lutte biologique contre les parasites n’en a que très peu tiré profit jusqu’à présent.

L’équipe de recherche souhaite découvrir comment le potentiel des organismes utiles du sol pourrait être mieux exploité. Elle se concentre sur les nématodes entomopathogènes (EPN), de minuscules filaires capables de tuer les insectes vivant dans le sol. Selon leurs performances dans les différents types de sol, ils pourraient être employés dans le cadre de la lutte contre les parasites. Pour ce faire, le projet recense les EPN en termes de composition en espèces et de densités dans des sites sélectionnés de Suisse. L’efficacité et la durée de présence des EPN, que l’on peut déjà trouver dans le commerce, sont établies dans plusieurs types de sol. Enfin, l’action positive des EPN doit être optimisée et, en collaboration avec les équipes de recherche de Marcel van der Heijden (Agroscope ART) et de Monika Maurhofer et Christoph Keel (EPF Zurich/Université de Lausanne), associée à d’autres micro-organismes utiles (bactéries, champignons symbiotiques).

Le projet étudie un grand nombre d’organismes du sol en conditions réelles, complétant ainsi les connaissances actuelles sur l’interaction des différents micro-organismes et des plantes dans la zone racinaire, qui reposent pour une grande part sur des essais en laboratoire et en serre. L’objectif est de montrer dans quelle mesure la qualité du sol et le rendement peuvent être améliorés par l’utilisation de nématodes entomopathogènes. Cela intéressera les entreprises qui développent des produits phytosanitaires écologiques.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.05.2013

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
The pesticide potential of micro-organisms, of which there are many kinds that occur in the soil, has not been exhausted. Ted Turlings and his team are studying so-called entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN), tiny roundworms that can kill off insects living the soil. The team aims to record the frequency and the types of nematodes in various habitats and to check whether they are suitable for use as biological pest control.
Lay summary

Pests that attack the roots of crops are difficult to reach with pesticides. In the soil, however, there lives a great variety of micro-organisms that can make an important contribution to plant protection. Yet, until now, biological pest control has only been able to use the tremendous potential of these organisms to a limited degree.

The research team would like to find out how the potential of beneficial soil organisms can be better exploited. It is concentrating its research on so-called entomopathogenic nematodes, tiny roundworms that can kill off insects living in the soil. They could be used as pest control, depending on their effectiveness in different kinds of soil. The project is therefore recording the occurrence of EPN with regard to species composition and densities at selected sites in Switzerland. The effectiveness and the persistence of EPN that are already available on the market will be recorded in different kinds of soil. Finally, the positive effect of EPN is to be optimised and in collaboration with the research teams of Marcel van der Heijden (Agroscope ART) and Monika Maurhofer and Christoph Keel (ETH Zurich/University of Lausanne) combined with the application of other useful micro-organisms (bacteria, symbiotic fungi).

The project aims to analyse a large number of soil organisms in field conditions and extend current knowledge on the interaction between various micro-organisms and plants in the root area, based to a large extent on laboratory and greenhouse experiments. It should reveal to what extent the soil quality and yield can be improved through the use of entomopathogenic nematodes. This is of interest to companies that are developing pesticides that do not harm the environment.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 31.05.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Protecting maize from rootworm damage with the combined application of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, Pseudomonas bacteria and entomopathogenic nematodes
Jaffuel Geoffrey, Imperiali Nicola, Shelby Kent, Campos-Herrera Raquel, Geisert Ryan, Maurhofer Monika, Loper Joyce, Keel Christoph, Turlings Ted C. J., Hibbard Bruce E. (2019), Protecting maize from rootworm damage with the combined application of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi, Pseudomonas bacteria and entomopathogenic nematodes, in Scientific Reports, 9(1), 3127-3127.
Improved separation by at-column dilution in preparative hydrophilic interaction chromatography
Jaffuel Geoffrey, Chappuis Laura, Guillarme Davy, Turlings Ted C.J., Glauser Gaétan (2018), Improved separation by at-column dilution in preparative hydrophilic interaction chromatography, in Journal of Chromatography A, 1532, 136-143.
Diffusion of the maize root signal (E)-β-caryophyllene in soils of different textures and the effects on the migration of the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis megidis
Chiriboga M. Xavier, Campos-Herrera Raquel, Jaffuel Geoffrey, Röder Gregory, Turlings Ted C.J. (2017), Diffusion of the maize root signal (E)-β-caryophyllene in soils of different textures and the effects on the migration of the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis megidis, in Rhizosphere, 3, 53-59.
Effects of cover crops on the overwintering success of entomopathogenic nematodes and their antagonists
Jaffuel Geoffrey, Blanco-Pérez Rubén, Büchi Lucie, Mäder Paul, Fließbach Andreas, Charles Raphaël, Degen Thomas, Turlings Ted C.J., Campos-Herrera Raquel (2017), Effects of cover crops on the overwintering success of entomopathogenic nematodes and their antagonists, in Applied Soil Ecology , 114, 62-73.
Prevalence and activity of entomopathogenic nematodes and their antagonists in soils that are subject to different agricultural practices
Jaffuel Geoffrey, Mäder Paul, Blanco-Perez Ruben, Chiriboga Xavier, Fliessbach Andreas, Turlings Ted C.J., Campos-Herrera Raquel (2016), Prevalence and activity of entomopathogenic nematodes and their antagonists in soils that are subject to different agricultural practices, in Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment , 230, 329-340.
Traditional and molecular detection methods reveal intense interguild competition and other multitrophic interactions associated with native entomopathogenic nematodes in Swiss tillage soils
Campos-Herrera Raquel, Jaffuel Geoffrey, Chiriboga Xavier, Blanco-Peréz Rubén, Fesselet Marie, Půža Vladimir, Mascher Fabio, Turlings Ted (2015), Traditional and molecular detection methods reveal intense interguild competition and other multitrophic interactions associated with native entomopathogenic nematodes in Swiss tillage soils, in Plant and Soil, 389, 237-255.
Understanding the assemblage of entomopathogenic nematodes soil food web in natural and agricultural areas: new insights from a Swiss ecological research network
Campos-Herrera R., Jaffuel G., Chiriboga X., Blanco-Perez R., Fesselet A. M., Hug S., Meuli R. G., Mäder P., Mascher F., Turlings T. C. J. (2015), Understanding the assemblage of entomopathogenic nematodes soil food web in natural and agricultural areas: new insights from a Swiss ecological research network, in Journal of Nematology, 47(3), 228-228.
Unraveling the intraguild competition between Oscheius spp. nematodes and entomopathogenic nematodes: Implications for their natural distribution in Swiss agricultural soils.
Campos-Herrera Raquel, Půža Vladimir, Jaffuel Geoffrey, Blanco-Pérez Rubén, Čepulytė-Rakauskienė Rasa, Turlings Ted C J (2015), Unraveling the intraguild competition between Oscheius spp. nematodes and entomopathogenic nematodes: Implications for their natural distribution in Swiss agricultural soils., in Journal of invertebrate pathology, 132, 216-227.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Agroscope Changins-Wädenswill Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Institute of Integrative Biology (IBZ) Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Dept. of Microbiology, University of Lausanne Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
Annual meeting of the American Phytopathological Society (Poster Fabio Mascher) Poster Genotype-level interactions determine the degree of reduction of leaf rust on wheat by seed application of beneficial pseudomonads 01.08.2015 Pasadena, United States of America Turlings Théodoor; Campos Herrera Raquel; Daniela Villacrés de Papajewski; Mascher Fabio;
54th Annual Meeting of the Society of Nematologists Talk given at a conference Understanding the assemblage of entomopathogenic nematodes soil food web in natural and agricultural areas: new insights from a Swiss ecological research network (invited talk Raquel Campos Herrera) 19.07.2015 Michigan State University Campus, East Lansing, United States of America Campos Herrera Raquel; Fesselet Marie; Turlings Théodoor; Blanco Pérez Ruben;
Annual Meeting of the International Society of Chemical Ecology Poster Diffusion of (E)-β-caryophyllene in different soil textures and its effects on the foraging behavior of the entomopathogenic nematode Heterorhabditis megidis (Poster Xavier Chiriboga) 29.06.2015 Stockholm, June 29th – July 3rd, 2015., Sweden Campos Herrera Raquel; Turlings Théodoor;
EUCARPIA Workshop on implemening plant–microbe interaction in plant breeding (speaker Daniela Villacrés de Papajewski Talk given at a conference Degree of root colonization and of induced resistance in wheat is determined by the bacterial strain the wheat genotype 25.06.2015 Weihenstephan, Germany Daniela Villacrés de Papajewski; Mascher Fabio; Turlings Théodoor; Campos Herrera Raquel;
Rhizosphere4 Meeting Talk given at a conference Evaluation of entomopathogenic nematode soil food webs in Swiss soils reveals major differences between agricultural and natural habitats (talk Raquel Campos Herrera) 21.06.2015 Maastricht, Netherlands Turlings Théodoor; Blanco Pérez Ruben; Campos Herrera Raquel;
10th International PGPR Workshop Talk given at a conference Fluorescent Pseudomonas bacteria as tools for monitoring and improving the health of agricultural soils in Switzerland 16.06.2015 Liège, Belgium Campos Herrera Raquel; Turlings Théodoor; Fesselet Marie; Mascher Fabio;
15th Meeting of the IOBC-WPRS Working Group Microbial and Nematode Control of Invertebrate Pests Talk given at a conference Low prevalence and strong competition of entomopathogenic nematodes in Swiss agricultural soils imply a need for an augmentation biological control approach for effective crop protection (talk Geoffrey Jaffuel) 07.06.2015 Riga, Latvia Turlings Théodoor; Campos Herrera Raquel; Blanco Pérez Ruben;
XLVII Annual Meeting of The Organization of Nematologists of Tropical America (ONTA) Talk given at a conference Unraveling the impact of the free-living nematodes Oscheius spp. in the entomopathogenic nematode production (invited talk Raquel Campos Herrera) 18.05.2015 Varadero, Cuba Turlings Théodoor; Blanco Pérez Ruben; Campos Herrera Raquel;
First Gobal Soil Biodiversity Conference Poster Soil biology in the Swiss Soil Monitoring Network NABO (poster A.-S. Hug) 02.12.2014 Dijon, France Campos Herrera Raquel;
12th Swiss Geoscience Meeting Talk given at a conference Assessment of the natural occurrence of entomopathogenic nematodes in Swiss annual agricultural soils (talk Raquel Campos Herrera)) 21.11.2014 Fribourg, Switzerland Campos Herrera Raquel; Mascher Fabio; Turlings Théodoor; Blanco Pérez Ruben; Fesselet Marie;
15th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships Poster The natural occurrence of entomopathogenic nematodes in Swiss agricultural soils is not affected by management practices (Poster Geoffrey Jaffuel) 17.08.2014 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Blanco Pérez Ruben; Turlings Théodoor; Campos Herrera Raquel;
15th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships Poster Measuring entomopathogenic nematode soil food webs in Swiss wheat-maize agroecosystem for developing root-herbivores sustainable biocontrol (Poster Raquel Campos Herrera) 17.08.2014 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Turlings Théodoor; Blanco Pérez Ruben; Fesselet Marie; Campos Herrera Raquel; Mascher Fabio;
15th International Symposium on Insect-Plant Relationships Poster The diffusion of the herbivore-induced root signal (E)-β-caryophyllene depends on soil texture and humidity (Poster Xavier Chiriboga) 17.08.2014 Neuchâtel, Switzerland Campos Herrera Raquel; Turlings Théodoor;
47th Annual Meeting of the Society for Invertebrate Pathology Talk given at a conference Measuring entomopathogenic nematode activity, abundance and soil food web assemblage in Swiss wheat and maize cultivation 03.08.2014 Mainz, Germany Blanco Pérez Ruben; Campos Herrera Raquel; Turlings Théodoor; Fesselet Marie; Mascher Fabio;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Symposium “Insect pathogenic and parasitic nematodes in complex systems: discovering interactions and new applications” co–organized by R. Campos–Herrera and S.P. Stock. XLVII Annual Meeting of The Organization of Nematologists of Tropical America (ONTA) 18.05.2015 Varadero , Cuba
Symposium “Above and belowground interaction: entomopathogenic nematodes root–shoot interaction and chemical signaling” co–organized by R. Campos–Herrera, and F. Kaplan. 47th Annual Meeting of the Society of Invertebrate Pathology (SIP) 03.08.2014 Mainz, Germany

Knowledge transfer events



Self-organised

Title Date Place
Microfaune et microflore, booster de la fertilité des sols (PNR 68 - Biologie du sol II, cours no. 15.334 co-organisé avec Agridea) 26.11.2015 Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Focus sur les bactéries, mycorhizes et nématodes entomopathogènes (PNR 68 - Biologie du sol II, cours no. 14.303 co-organisé avec Agridea) 23.01.2014 Neuchatel, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Die Bodenbiologie bringt Landwirte und Wissenschaftler zusammen (Fesselet et al.) Agrarforschung Schweiz 7(3), 156-159, 2016 German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media La biologie du sol passionne et réunit agriculteurs et scientifiques (Fesselet M et al.) Recherche Agronomique Suisse 7(3), 156-159 Western Switzerland 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Die Bodenbiologie trifft auf die Pflanzenproduzenten (Fesselet M, Gouinguené S, Dugon J, Mascher F) Agrarforschung Schweiz 6(10), 470-473 German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media La biologie du sol s’invite auprès des agriculteurs (Fesselet M, Gouinguené S, Dugon J, Mascher F) Recherche Agronomique Suisse 6(10), 470-473 Western Switzerland 2015
Media relations: radio, television "Soluzione radicale", I batteri del suolo, film by Cesare Bernasconi in "Il giardino di Albert" Televisione della svizzera italiana RSI Italian-speaking Switzerland 2014
Media relations: print media, online media Teamwork mit dem Pilz: Bodentiere fördern schonende Landwirtschaft (article & interview) Die Grüne German-speaking Switzerland 2014

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
157884 Supercritical fluid chromatography tandem mass spectrometry as a new analytical tool for plant sciences 01.06.2015 R'EQUIP
161904 Alginate beads as vehicles for the application of entomopathogenic nematodes and bacteria against economically important soil-dwelling pests 01.12.2015 NRP 68 Sustainable Use of Soil as a Resource

Abstract

In agriculture, soil quality is not just determined by the presence of nutrients and water, but also by the presence of beneficial and the absence of antagonistic organisms. The latter, which mainly come in the form of pathogens and herbivorous insects, are responsible for significant crop losses and are estimated to reduce potential yield by as much as 30%. Unlike aboveground pests and diseases, belowground antagonists are hard to reach with pesticides, and the negative environmental impact of pesticide application is a major concern. Approaches to fight belowground pests and diseases with biological control agents have had little success, especially in large-scale agriculture. Yet, the soil fauna contains a tremendous diversity of microorganisms, many of which, if present in sufficient numbers, can help to protect plants against their antagonists. In the context of NRP68, we will work closely together with other Swiss scientists to explore and exploit the full potential of beneficial microorganisms for crop protection in Switzerland. Within this collaborative consortium our project will focus on entomopathogenic nematodes (EPN). EPN are obligate parasites of insects, which they kill within days after parasitizing them. This makes EPN ideal candidates for the biological control of major root insect pests. We argue that, if the biology of EPN and the abiotic factors that determine their performance in different soil types are sufficiently well understood, beneficial EPN can be employed and exploited with great efficacy to combat most, if not all insect pests in agricultural soils. To achieve this we propose a project with the following objectives:1.To make an inventory of the EPN species composition and densities in different agricultural soils throughout Switzerland.2.To determine the persistence and pest control efficacy of commercially available EPN in different Swiss soil types.3.To evaluate the effect of agricultural management practices (monoculture, mixed cropping, crop rotation, cover crops, and tillage) on the persistence and control efficacy of EPN.4.To investigate and optimize the positive impact of EPN in combination with beneficial bacteria and fungi on crop performance in Switzerland.
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