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Plant Cell Rep. 2011 Mar;30(3):311-23. doi: 10.1007/s00299-010-0972-z. Epub 2010 Dec 24.

Natural genetic and induced plant resistance, as a control strategy to plant-parasitic nematodes alternative to pesticides.

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Institute of Plant Protection, National Research Council of Italy, Via G Amendola 122/D, 70126 Bari, Italy.


Plant-parasitic nematodes are pests of a wide range of economically important crops, causing severe losses to agriculture. Natural genetic resistance of plants is expected to be a valid solution of the many problems nematodes cause all over the world. Progress in resistance applications is particularly important for the less-developed countries of tropical and subtropical regions, since use of resistant cultivars may be the only possible and economically feasible control strategy in those farming systems. Resistance is being considered of particular importance also in modern high-input production systems of developed countries, as the customary reliance on chemical nematicides has been restricted or has come to an end. This review briefly describes the genetic bases of resistance to nematodes in plants and focuses on the chances and problems of its exploitation as a key element in an integrated management program. Much space is dedicated to the major problem of resistance durability, in that the intensive use of resistant cultivars is likely to increasingly induce the selection of virulent populations able to "break" the resistance. Protocols of pest-host suitability are described, as bioassays are being used to evaluate local nematode populations in their potential to be selected on resistant germplasm and endanger resistant crops. The recent progress in using robust and durable resistances against nematodes as an efficient method for growers in vegetable cropping systems is reported, as well as the possible use of chemicals that do not show any unfavorable impact on environment, to induce in plants resistance against plant-parasitic nematodes.

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