Many nematodes are parasites of plants and animals causing severe damage to crops and livestock. Many antihelminthics used to control animal-parasitic nematodes have created resistance in the nematode population, resulting in decreased control efficiency (Nansen 1993). Nematicides, the chemicals which are used to control plant-parasitic nematodes, are often toxic compounds causing both environmental and health problems. Several of these nematicides have been banned in many countries and the current process of phasing out the ozone-depleting substance, methyl bromide, which is an effective nematicide and insecticide, will increase the nematode problem in agriculture (Nordmeyer 1992). Therefore, the possibility to use nematophagous fungi for nonhazardous biological control of parasitic nematodes should be encouraged.
To be able to use nematophagous fungi for biocontrol on a larger scale we need to increase our research efforts to learn more about the life of these organisms, and their interactions with nematodes, plants, and other soil organisms, on ecological as well as cellular and molecular levels. In the present paper we will review and discuss some of the research, which has been performed on nematophagous fungi. Based on recent discoveries we will also speculate on new ways to use nematophagous fungi for nematode control.
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