Nematodes are the most devastating pests causing huge crop losses. With certain effective pesticides being withdrawn from the world market due to their harmful effects, alternative strategies to control nematodes need to be developed, P. Murugesa Boopathi, Vice-Chancellor, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University (TNAU), said here on Tuesday.
He was inaugurating a three-day national conference on “Innovations in Nematological Research for Agricultural Sustainability – Challenges and Road Map Ahead” at the university. The conference was being held in collaboration with Nematological Society of India.
Pointing out that the estimated annual yield loss worldwide was to the extent of $ 100 billion, the Vice-Chancellor said the annual yield loss in India due to nematodes was Rs. 210 crore.
“Nematology scientists should conduct detailed research on life history and behaviour of nematodes and other related areas to develop new strategies for nematode management,” the Vice-Chancellor urged.
Releasing two books on nematology, Mr. Boopathy said TNAU had the pride of establishing the first nematology laboratory in the country in 1961. It also had the largest number of nematology scientists (23) among the institutions.
Sudershan Ganguly, General Secretary, Nematological Society of India, said in spite of their harmful effects, nematodes had proved to be quite useful. “Free-living soil nematodes not only regulate the microbial population, but also contribute to soil health by nutrient mineralisation.” R.K. Jain, Vice-President of the society, also spoke.
(Source : TNAU, Coimbatore)