Holland Inovative Potato – HIP: Tackling Globodera cyst banks in soil by manipulation of egg hatching (in partnership with the lab of Plant Hormone Biology, Dr. Harro Bouwmeester, UvA)
Potato production is affected by several pathogens both above and below ground. In the soil two of the worst pests menacing potato yield are the potato cyst nematodes Globodera pallida and Globodera rostochiensis, responsible for production losses of nearly 50% in heavily infested areas. Fertilized females of the genus Globodera are sessile organisms that harden their cuticles turning themselves into an egg-sac (cyst) that persists for up to 20 years in the soil. Hatching of said eggs is a tightly controlled process that relies on the level of hydration of the cysts and the perception of favorable environmental cues such as temperature and chemical compounds released in the soil by host plant species (known as hatching factors).
I aim to understand how the hatching factors are perceived and result in the hatching of Globodera spp. My goal is to exploit and manipulate this chemical communication towards sustainable and durable methods of nematode cyst bank control. Moreover, am interested in optimizing the technique of virus induced gene silencing towards silencing of nematode genes.