Selective control of parasitic nematodes using bioactivated nematicides


Parasitic nematodes are a major threat to global food security, particularly as the world amasses 10 billion people amid limited arable land. Most traditional nematicides have been banned owing to poor nematode selectivity, leaving farmers with inadequate means of pest control. Here we use the model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans to identify a family of selective imidazothiazole nematicides, called selectivins, that undergo cytochrome-p450-mediated bioactivation in nematodes. At low parts-per-million concentrations, selectivins perform comparably well with commercial nematicides to control root infection by Meloidogyne incognita, a highly destructive plant-parasitic nematode. Tests against numerous phylogenetically diverse non-target systems demonstrate that selectivins are more nematode-selective than most marketed nematicides. Selectivins are first-in-class bioactivated nematode controls that provide efficacy and nematode selectivity.