Garlic cultivation has its origin in the Mediterranean area, but later it spread throughout the world, having a large presence in Asia or America. Spain is one of the main producers of this crop worldwide, already in 2018, 26,338 ha of garlic were planted throughout the national territory.
At Econatur, thanks to our close location to main garlic producers, we have long experience in handling this crop, allowing us to develop specific solutions. This situation has led us to carefully study one of the main pathogens that affects garlic and other bulbs, nematode infestation.
Nematodes are organisms that use crops as hosts to reproduce, which means that the crop can develop a disease depending on the level of infestation by this pathogen. There are different species of nematodes that use different crops as hosts to reproduce; among them, there are the genera Heterodera, Pratylenchus, Meloidogyne and Ditylenchus. These last two genera (Meloidogyne and Ditylenchus) are the most common. The main difference between both genders is their way of infesting the crop, and therefore, the type of crop they affect.
Meloidogyne spp. uses the surface of the plant’s root (such as tomato, pepper, cucumber, etc.) to lay the egg mass, thus generating a tumor on the roots. These tumors in the roots are due to changes in the functioning of cells, increasing their metabolic rate. They also alter the expression of some genes that regulate hormonal balance, allowing the nematode to control the food supply that the plant can offer it.
The genus Ditylenchus spp. It is the main one that attacks the cultivation of garlic. This genus consists of about 80 species that take as hosts both fungi and plants. The feeding activity of this type of nematode generally causes the breakdown of cell walls, due to the secretion of pectinase enzymes, which can cause inflammation and distortion of plant structures. This causes secondary pathogens to infect the crop. The reproduction periods of this nematode last an average of 21 days, being the reproduction, laying and hatching of the eggs inside the plant tissue.
On average, nematodes cause crop losses between 12% and 20% in world agriculture. These losses are equivalent to approximately 135,000 million euros per year. In Spain, only in tomato cultivation, crop losses between 15 and 40% have been registered, both in outdoor cultivation and in greenhouse.
If you want to know more and find out about Econatur solutions to combat nematodes, contact our experts HERE