Plant pest ID course cuts ag losses

By Peter Kent

looking at Nematodes in a microscpoeNematodes are microscopic worms that cause $80 billion of crop loss in the world each year. All crops are damaged by at least one species of nematode. Accurate nematode identification is important in the management of turfgrass, field and fruit crops, and vegetables.

To help protect these crops, the Department of Entomology, Soils, and Plant Sciences conducts the Plant-parasitic Nematode Identification Course. Since the program began in 1982, more than 490 professionals from 40 states and 25 countries have received certification to identify potentially harmful species of nematodes.

Nematologist Paula Agudelo offers the course every December on the Clemson campus and is now expanding to Latin America and Canada. Training regulatory personnel helps minimize the parasite’s spread and prevent nematodes from crossing national borders. The program is part of a continuing effort to update skills and increase efficiency of professionals in plant pathology and nematology.

For more information: Paula Agudelo at 864-656-5741, pagudel@clemson.edu, or www.clemson.edu/esps/plantpath/nematology/nematode.htm.