Protecting plants, Conserving biodiversity


Crops all over the world are in danger due to the influence of parasitic nematodes (PPNs). PPNs feed on the roots of crop-plants and thereby consume the energy that the plant needs to develop normally. Especially potato plants are terrorized by the potato cyst nematodes (Globodera pallida & Globodera rostochiensis). According to current estimations, these two potato cyst nematodes are responsible for an annual loss of 460 million euros in Europe alone due to reduced potato yields. Current methods to fight them off are either insufficient or detrimental to the biodiversity in the soil. New and sustainable ways of potato crop protection against potato cyst nematodes are therefore urgently needed. We, the iGEM Groningen 2020 team, have therefore developed a new way to fight potato cyst nematodes with RootPatch, a community of bacteria that coats and protects the roots from the nematodes. By producing neuropeptides acting specifically on the nervous system of the potato cyst nematodes, RootPatch repels the nematodes from the plants without having any effect on other organisms in the soil.

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