Quick scan on nematodes

5 November 2020

Nematodes are a subject that is attracting more and more attention in greenhouse horticulture. Harmful nematodes often cause quality problems and reduce yields. Preventive analysis can save a lot of trouble. The NematodeCheck provides a quick scan of the situation, enabling the grower to take appropriate measures.

At present, nematode analyses are performed less routinely in greenhouse horticulture than in arable farming and open field horticulture. And yet the consequences of a nematode infestation can be severe. The nematodes that occur in greenhouse horticulture are often tropical species. They can be found in greenhouse soil, all types of substrates and even in irrigation or drain water.

Comprehensive nematode analysis

There are various tests available for screening for the presence of nematodes and therefore preventing damage. A nematode analysis can even help the grower get to the bottom of problems in the crop that cannot be explained. Eurofins Agro offers a nematode analysis specifically designed for nematodes in both greenhouse soil and substrate-based systems.

Natasja Poot, Product Manager Cultivation, explains: “In greenhouse horticulture, we encounter tropical species that do not occur in outdoor crops in the Netherlands. Our nematode analysis for greenhouse horticulture takes this into account and looks for all the possible nematodes. The experts in our lab identify nematodes by species as far as possible. The results are given in the report, along with information on the damage thresholds and host plant status of the crops submitted. Together with Wageningen UR, we have developed a database of 2,500 species that can occur in greenhouses. We can identify more and more species using DNA analysis.” 


A quick scan for the presence of nematodes can be useful at the start of a new crop or when an acute problem occurs. Sometimes it will be enough to know which groups of plant parasitic nematodes occur in the soil. Based on that information, the grower can then decide whether or not to steam the soil, for example, or they can check how effective a disinfection has been,” Poot says.

The NematodeCheck is an initial screening only under the microscope, in which nematodes are identified down to genus or family level. This analysis is quicker than the detailed nematode analysis. Since the nematodes are not identified to the species level, no crop-specific advice can be given.

Nematodes in plant material

Poot tells: “Most nematodes occur in the roots of plants and can cause a lot of damage. Examples are the endoparasitic root knot and root lesion nematodes. Other nematodes, such as stem nematodes and leaf nematodes, cause damage in the aboveground parts of the crop. Plant and root material can be sent in for a PlantDoctor analysis. The material is checked for the presence of nematodes. This is usually done to explain symptoms or for periodic monitoring. The  'Nematodes in plant material'-analysis looks at all the possible nematodes. We also have specific analyses for the root necrosis nematode (Radopholus spp.) and the stem nematode (Ditylenchus dipsaci) in plant material."

Nematodes in water

Nematodes can also be present in drain water and in the drain storage tank or reservoir. For a water analysis, it is important that the nematodes are collected from a large volume of water. For this purpose, there are special sieves available that can flush 100 liters of water. The material collected, including the nematodes, is then transferred to a smaller bottle and sent to the lab. All free-living nematodes are identified by species in this analysis.

More information

Please contact horti@eurofins.com