Research investigates entomopathogenic nematode-plant relationship
The three-year project is titled “Chemical cues from beneficial nematodes enhance plant resistance and strengthen biological control.” It was funded by U.S. Department of AgricultureNational Institute of Food and Agriculture through the Pests and Beneficial Species in Agricultural Production Systems Program.
The $680,000 grant will expand the work Helms began as a postdoctoral fellowship study in 2017. Helms is collaborating with David Shapiro-Ilan, Ph.D., at the USDA-ARS Southeastern Fruit and Tree Nut Research Station in Byron, Georgia, and Fatma Kaplan, Ph.D., at Pheronym Inc. in Woodland, California. Shapiro-Ilan and Kaplan have extensive experience and expertise focusing on nematodes and nematode pheromones, respectively.
Aside from their knowledge about EPNs, Helms said Shapiro-Ilan and Kaplan also provide expertise regarding potential commercial applications of the research to make EPNs a viable option for various users.