by Kumamoto University
A research collaboration based in Kumamoto University, Japan has become the first to successfully purify and identify an attractant for crop-infecting root-knot nematodes from flax seeds. Their experiments revealed that rhamnogalacturonan-I (RG-I), a flaxseed cell wall component, can attract root-knot nematodes. The linkages between rhamnose and L-galactose are essential for the attraction.
Plant-parasitic nematodes are one of many known agricultural pests. They are parasites that infect plant roots and form feeding sites known as "root knots" to reproduce. Heavily-infested plants fail to absorb water and inorganic salts efficiently, which results in growth retardation or even death. Agricultural damage caused by nematodes has caused major concerns worldwide. The level of nematode-associated agricultural damage has been estimated to be several hundreds of billions of US dollars per year worldwide.