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Annu Rev Phytopathol. 2000 Sep;38:423-441. doi: 10.1146/annurev.phyto.38.1.423.

Rhizosphere Interactions and the Exploitation of Microbial Agents for the Biological Control of Plant-Parasitic Nematodes.

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Entomology and Nematology Department, IACR-Rothamsted, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, United Kingdom; e-mail:


A range of specialist and generalist microorganisms in the rhizosphere attacks plant-parasitic nematodes. Plants have a profound effect on the impact of this microflora on the regulation of nematode populations by influencing both the dynamics of the nematode host and the structure and dynamics of the community of antagonists and parasites in the rhizosphere. In general, those organisms that have a saprophytic phase in their life cycle are most affected by environmental conditions in the rhizosphere, but effects on obligate parasites have also been recorded. Although nematodes influence the colonization of roots by pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms, little is known of such interactions with the natural enemies of nematodes in the rhizosphere. As nematodes influence the quantity and quality of root exudates, they are likely to affect the physiology of those microorganisms in the rhizosphere; such changes may be used as signals for nematode antagonists and parasites. Successful biological control strategies will depend on a thorough understanding of these interactions at the population, organismal, and molecular scale.


cyst nematodes; nematophagous fungi; rhizobacteria; root-knot nematodes; tritrophic interactions

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