Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.), a growing problem in French vegetable crops



Root-knot nematode infestations have become an increasing source of concern in French vegetable production due to recent restrictions on the use of chemical nematicides and the banning of some of the most active compounds. This problem is likely to become particularly severe in the next few years. A survey, based on questionnaires to farmers, was carried out by INRA Sophia Antipolis (PACA centre) between 2007 and 2010 in collaboration with more than 30 research institutes and technical centres, groups of producers and chambers of agriculture. It showed that in the Provence–Alpes–Côte d’Azur (PACA) region, more than 40% of horticultural holdings are infested by Meloidogyne species. It is no longer possible to produce cucurbits on certain plots. Other regions are also affected. Other genera of nematodes that are more difficult for farmers to diagnose (Globodera, Heterodera, Pratylenchus, Ditylenchus) were sometimes detected. Alternatives to chemical control have been tested on several farms and have been found to be highly variable in efficiency. There is therefore a need for researchers and professionals (producers, technical advisers, etc.) to combine forces to monitor this plant health problem and to develop and test new, economically viable and sustainable control methods.