Effects of plants containing pyrrolizidine alkaloids on the northern root-knot nematode Meloidogyne hapla.
1,2-Dehydropyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), known to be nematotoxic in vitro, represent a class of secondary plant metabolites from hundreds of plant species worldwide. Pot experiments with the commercially available PA-containing plants Ageratum houstonianum, Borago officinalis, Senecio bicolor, and Symphytum officinalis demonstrate that Meloidogyne hapla is not per se repelled by these plants as all species were infested with nematodes. However, the development of M. hapla juveniles was completely suppressed on A. houstonianum and S. bicolor. Soil in which A. houstonianum and S. bicolor were cultivated and incorporated contained 200-400 times less nematodes than soil treated with Lycopersicon esculentum. Depending on their qualitative composition of PAs at least some of these plants thus appear to be valuable tools for integrated root-knot nematode management.