Original article

Management of Meloidogyne javanica with biological pesticides and oils in a lettuce field

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Lettuce (Lactuca sativa L.) is a vegetable crop used worldwide in salads. Among the factors limiting its production are the root-knot nematodes, Meloidogyne spp. Since synthetic nematicides cannot be used in lettuce, alternative ways to manage these pathogens are needed. Four consecutive experiments were carried out in an area cultivated with lettuce cv. Regina 2000 and naturally infested with M. javanica. We tested Pochonia chlamydosporia, Trichoderma harzianum, neem oil, castor oil, and nematicide terbufos and calculated the Relative Efficiency of the treatments. The sequence of four crops led to a considerable increase in the population of M. javanica in lettuce when no management method was applied, which made the growth of the crop impracticable after the third crop cycle. The Relative Efficiency was variable in the first three cycles and none of the treatments had an efficiency over 70%; however, in the last cycle, all the treatments had a Relative Efficiency over 77%, and treatments neem oil, castor oil, and terbufos were the most efficient, with Relative Efficiency 93.3, 92 and 94%, respectively


  • Oils and biological agents keep the nematodes population suitably low, reducing farmers’ losses.
  • The use of oils and biological agents for managing nematodes does not cause significant damage to the soil microbiota.
  • The sequence of lettuce crops causes significant losses to the farmer when effective methods for managing nematodes are not used.


damages, root knot nematodes, Lactuca sativa.

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