How nematodes outsmart the defenses of pests

Entomopathogenic nematodes, Fadenwurm Uni Bern,  Bild Anouk Guyer

The western corn rootworm, one of the world's most damaging maize pests, can use plant defense compounds to defend itself against its own natural enemies, so-called entomopathogenic nematodes. However, the nematodes can become immune against these compounds in turn, which enhances their ability to fight the western corn rootworm, as researchers at the University of Bern show. This mechanism may contribute to improving biological pest control.

The research is being carried out by Swiss Plant Science Web member Prof. Matthias Erb, Prof. Christian Parisod and their teams and colleagues at the Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern.