Aligarh: Dr M.S. Swaminathan, eminent agricultural scientist of India released two very prestigious publications of the National Academy of Sciences, India at the inaugural session of the NASI at its 80th annual meeting recently held at Jaipur. The books entitled “Nematode Infestations” are in two volumes, Part I is on nematodes attacking food crops (cereals and pulses) and the Part II on industrial crops viz., cotton, tobacco, tea, coffee, spices, medicinal plants etc. Dr. Mujeebur Rahman Khan of the Department of Plant Protection, Aligarh Muslim University and Professor M. Shamim Jairajpuri of the Department of Zoology, AMU are the joint Editors of these two publications. The articles are written by senior and eminent scientists. The chapters are peer reviewed and descriptions are based on up-to-date information supported by relevant coloured photographs.
Nematodes are most numerous among all multicellular organisms that occur in the soil. These microscopic vermiform, thread-like creatures present in all types of soils and may either occur as free-living saprophagous or predaceous, but numerous species are known to attack plants and reduce their productivity. The actual knowledge of these plant parasitic nematodes dates back to 1743 when Needhem discovered the wheat-gall disease caused by Anguina tritici. The research on plant-parasitic nematodes gained momentum during the last quarter of the 19th century as the agricultural significance of several species of nematodes was realized. In India, the first species of plant-parasitic nematode was discovered by Barker in the year 1901. However, organized research on plant nematodes in India could start only in the 1950s, first at the Aligarh Muslim University, followed by the Indian Agricultural Research Institute, New Delhi and later at other institutions in the country. The Plant Nematology ranks among the few disciplines of Agriculture in which the Indian scientists have contributed immensely, and the country is in a very prominent position, both in the teaching and research. Realizing the great significance of nematode infestations in crops and the enormity of losses caused to their productivity, a set of two comprehensive volumes on “Nematode Infestations Part-I Food Crops” and “Nematode Infestations Part-II Industrial Crops” edited by Dr. M.R. Khan, and Prof. M. S. Jairajpuri are published by the National Academy of Sciences, India, Allahabad. These books may be procured from The Secretary, NASI, 5 Lajpatrai Road, Allahabad 211002, U.P., India.