Dehradun: In a major development in the field of agriculture, the scientists of Zoological Survey of India (ZSI), Dehradun have identified new variety of root knot Nematodes that are heavily responsible for poor production of crops and plants in the country.

Dr Vinita Sharma, Research Scientist, ZSI has discovered 20 varieties of parasitic organisms called Nematodes coming under the phylum Nematoda which are hugely affecting around 10 to 60 percent of plants annually in the country.

Nematodes are parasitic organisms that are invisible through naked eyes but have a very detrimental effect on the plant health. These microscopic species attack the root of the plants which result into non-production of chlorophyll and restrict water circulation in the plants. These organisms are easily adaptive to the fresh or marine waters and soils.

The research says only 10-20 percent of the total planted crops yield fruits every year. Moreover, rest of the crops are badly attacked by these parasites which easily grow in the poor condition of soil in India. 

According to Dr Sharma, the Nematodes build tight knots on the roots of the crop that lead to blockage between stem and roots. This restricts the supply of water, nutrients and air to the leaves and hence leaves fail to produce chlorophyll (food for the plants) that is important ingredient for a plant life. 

The Nematode being a parasitic animal uses the plant’s (host) nutrients, water and air for their multiplication.

“During the research, we found that these parasites started using the nutrients and water of the plants for survival and their multiplication. Slowly the leaves of these crops started turning yellow,” said Dr Sharma.

However, she also said about various methods for controlling the attacks of these parasites on the crops. In her presentation ‘Nematodes in forestry’ she stated about the recent methods of controlling the growth of these parasites which are given by the scientists of Forest Research Institute (FRI).

Among the various methods of restricting nematode’s growth include examining the condition of soil before cropping and use of bark of Neem plants in the field.