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Plant Pest Diagnostics Center

Nematology Laboratory Overview

The Nematology Laboratory provides diagnostic support for the protection of California’s agricultural industry against economically important plant parasitic nematodes associated with plant disease. The state’s agricultural industry could lose over $600 million annually in crop losses if certain plant parasitic nematodes not known, or of limited occurrence in California would become widespread within the State. Based largely on the nematode diagnostic support provided by the Laboratory, government agencies are able to:

  1. Provide nursery certification and standards of pest cleanliness.
  2. Prevent the introduction and spread of regulatory significant pests.
  3. Provide phytosanitary certification of foreign export commodities.

Support activities include nematode identification, evaluation of nematode related agricultural issues, training county and state personnel, and providing scientific consultations to state, county, and federal agencies, as well as, university, industry and the general public. The nematologists specialize in specific groups of nematodes and provide binomial identifications to species of economic, regulatory importance detected in samples. Nematode identifications are based primarily on morphological analyses, and may be supplemented with molecular analyses, biological assays, computer-aided identification programs, literature reviews and peer consultations. More than one nematologist confirms identifications of nematode species of quarantine significance. Complete sample and nematode diagnostic information is maintained in the Laboratory computer database which is networked to county agricultural commissioners’ offices. Training in regulatory nematology, nematode biology, diseases, sampling, sample handling, processing and preliminary nematode identifications (genus level) is provided to county and state personnel, as needed. Six out of 30 county agricultural departments have nematode processing capabilities that have been certified by the State Nematologist. In addition, nematologists are also responsible for conducting research, and, organizing and participating in professional meetings.

Diagnostics Responsibilities Summary:

Scientist Diagnostic Responsabilities
Dr. Ke Dong Plant parasitic nematodes.
Dr. Sergei Subbotin Plant parasitic nematodes.