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CAB Review

Biocontrol potential of Pasteuria spp. for the management of plant parasitic nematodes.


Plant parasitic nematodes represent a severe threat for agriculture, causing yield losses for several food and industrial crops, worldwide. Actually, increasing demand for organic food products and for sustainable management practices requires the development of biocontrol approaches based on suitable antagonists. In this review, some traits of members of the bacterial genus Pasteuria are discussed, focusing on their biology and taxonomy, host range, specificity and application for host nematode regulation. Given the high specificity of Pasteuria spp. and the biodiversity recognized Within species, the exploitation of these parasites requires the collection of data on the isolates most suitable for practical use. Some traits of Pasteuria spp. biology appear favourable for biocontrol applications, such as the minimum impact on the other soil microorganisms and invertebrates, the durability of endospores, together with host specificity and regulation capability. Experimental evaluation of host-parasite compatibility for biocontrol purposes is a pre-requisite necessary for practical use. Isolates selection and evaluation may represent an additional cost in the development of commercial products and bioformulations based on mass cultivation of these bacteria. The Pasteuria spp. associated with nematode pests represent a valuable and widespread natural resource, whose benefits and application potential are not yet completely explored.