Nematodes were the most devastating pests causing huge losses in agriculture, Tamil Nadu Agricultual University Vice-Chancellor, Dr. P. Murugesa Boopathy said on Tuesday.
They caused damage without any specific disease symptoms in the above ground parts of the plants, he said inaugurating a national conference on ‘Innovation in nematological research for agricultural sustainability- challenges and a roadmap ahead,’ here.
Stating that the estimated annual yield losses worldwide was about 100 billion US dollars, he said in India, nematodes caused losses up to Rs. 210 crore annually.
There are over five lakh species of nematodes of which 15,000 have been described and 50 per cent of nematodes are marine, 25 per cent free living, 15 per cent animal parasites and 10 plant parasites, Bhoopathy said.
Rice root nematodes caused up to 64 per cent loss of upland rice in severe case and rice stem nematode even caused 100 per cent loss in deep water rice, in Bangladesh in 1995, he said.
Dr. Sudershan Ganguly, General Secretary Nematological Society of India, said that there was the need to undertake innovative nematology research for agricultural sustainability in view of climate change challenge, environmental concerns, pesticide bio-magnification and increasing demand for organic products.