Entomopathogenic Nematology by Randy Gaugler

Bibliographic Information:
Title: Entomopathogenic Nematology
Editor: Randy Gaugler
Edition: 1st
Publisher: CABI Publishing
Length: 399 pages
Size: 2.56 MB
Language: English

The field of entomopathogenic nematology has experienced exponential growth over
the past decade. A hundred different laboratories explore these nematodes and their
bacterial symbionts in more than 60 countries from every inhabited continent.
Despite research breadth that extends from molecular biology to field ecology, the discipline
is unified by a common interest in biological control. Thirty years ago, the idea
of using nematodes to control pest populations was a vague promise held by the handful
of researchers working with these obscure insect parasites. Today, they are no longer
a laboratory curiosity but have begun to gain acceptance as environmentally
benign alternatives to chemical insecticides. Twenty-five thousand hectares of Florida
citrus are treated with nematodes annually. Nematodes are applied against insect pests
of cranberries (black vine weevil, cranberry girdler), turfgrass (mole cricket, cutworms,
armyworms, fleas, billbugs), artichokes (plume moth), mushrooms (sciariid flies),
apples and peaches (Carposina), ornamentals (black vine weevil, fungus gnats), and
many other pests of horticulture, agriculture, home and garden.
Realization of entomopathogenic nematode practical use spurred developments
across a far broader scientific front. Recent years have seen an intensive worldwide
search for fresh genetic material resulting in thousands of new isolates. This, in
turn, drove a need for improved taxonomic tools and soon doubled the number
of described species. Molecular insights generated with the closely related (same
superfamily) and exhaustively studied nematode Caenorhabditis elegans are now being
applied to entomopathogenic species – no other biological control agent can tap into
such a huge and relevant knowledge base to exploit cutting-edge methodologies.
Advances or breakthroughs have also been made in elucidating foraging strategies,
room temperature formulations, ecological roles, population dynamics, and innumerable
other facets of entomopathogenic nematology.
This volume captures the full breath of basic and applied information on
entomopathogenic nematodes. Experts from nine countries contribute authoritative
chapters offering a comprehensive account of up-to-date findings, including the latest
achievements in genetic engineering, biodiversity, fermentation, toxins, soil ecology,
host–parasite interactions, symbiosis, safety considerations and management. The
book begins by reviewing fundamental biology and setting a taxonomic and phylogenetic
foundation. The extensive and far-flung survey record for these ubiquitous
nematode species is analysed within the context of a comprehensive database that
summarizes their distribution. Emphasis then shifts to functional processes involved
in parasitism and nematode ecology. This broad-based effort attempts to integrate
work on entomopathogenic nematodes with better-studied nematode species. Adaptations
in evolving from a primitive free-living existence to parasitism receive special
emphasis. Subsequent chapters illustrate technological advances relevant to nematodes
as biological insecticides. Current control methodologies in nematode commercial
evolution are stressed with analysis of critical issues identified by earlier chapters
that impact on nematodes application, production, quality and commercialization
strategies. Research gaps, of which there are many, are identified and promising
approaches suggested. The focus is on setting a research agenda that will permit
entomopathogenic nematodes to reach their full potential.
Entomopathogenic nematodes are a nematode–bacterial complex; a symbiotic
relationship based on mutualism. Unlike the earlier volume (Entomopathogenic
Nematodes in Biological Control, 1990, CRC Press), the bacterial symbiont now moves
from background to sharing centre stage. Emphasis is placed on the bacterial partner’s
role in maintaining the symbiotic relationship and in killing the host, as well as the
extraordinary promise that a bewilderingly diverse array of different metabolites
the bacteria produce appear to offer biotechnology. Thus, whereas the focus for
commercial development had been exclusively nematode oriented, the bacteria seem
poised to become the new focal point.

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