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Infection of plant-parasitic nematodes by nematophagous fungi – a review of the application of molecular biology to understand infection processes and to improve biological control

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image of Nematology
For more content, see Nematologica.

Environmental concerns over conventional nematicides have led to increasing interest in the use of biological control agents to control plant-parasitic nematodes. The development of nematophagous fungi as biological control agents has revealed a need for further understanding of their infection processes. The egg-parasitic fungi, Pochonia chlamydosporia and Paecilomyces lilacinus, and the nematode trapping fungus, Arthrobotrys oligospora, have received the most attention. Through the application of biochemistry and molecular biology, aspects of their infection processes have been elucidated. This has involved the characterisation of enzymes that aid penetration of the eggshell or the nematode body wall and the identification of nematicidal toxins. This growing understanding of the biology of infection is opening new avenues in the improvement of fungi as biological control agents.


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