Survival of soil organisms a wake-up call for bio-security

Listen on the RNZ Website: http://www.radionz.co.nz/national/programmes/ninetonoon/audio/201856932/survival-of-soil-organisms-a-wake-up-call-for-bio-security

Tiny creatures in soil that attack plants have shown the ability to survive for at least three years in new research, giving new insights into the bio-security threats posed by passenger travel and trade between countries. The creatures, called nematodes, are very small worm-like organisms - and are estimated to cause billions of dollars of crop damage worldwide each year. They can survive in dried out, seemingly harmless soil attached to a shoe or a freight container coming across the border - and can be extremely hardy and have both beneficial and detrimental impacts. Lynn Freeman speaks with a research scientist at AgResearch, Mark McNeil