Ultrason Sonochem. 2022 Aug 10;89:106120. doi: 10.1016/j.ultsonch.2022.106120. Online ahead of print.
Root-knot nematodes are one of the plant damaging nematodes in agriculture causing a projected annual yield loss of ∼12 % (∼$160 billion) worldwide. Conventional solutions to control these plant-parasitic nematodes involve chemical nematicides. To reduce the use of harmful chemicals, microalgal extracts can be used as greener alternatives for nematode management. Microalgae produce valuable metabolites, including cyanotoxins which can aid in nematode suppression. In this study, two microalgae species, Trichormus variabilis and Nostoc punctiforme, were treated with ultrasound for intensified recovery of secondary metabolites. Ultrasound results in cell wall disruption of the microalgal species, thus resulting in enhanced release of secondary metabolites. Microalgal biomass was treated with an ultrasound probe at 50 % amplitude, 20 kHz frequency, using water as the extraction medium, for 5-30 min. The extraction efficiency was determined in terms of the total chlorophyll (Chl) content of the extract. Microscopic images of the treated cells were also investigated to gain insight into the effect of the ultrasonication time on the cell morphology. Our results suggest that ultrasonication resulted in the intensified release of secondary metabolites, as established through the total chlorophyll content of the ultrasonicated microalgal samples as well as the microscopic images of the ruptured cells. The best extraction for Trichormus variabilis was achieved with 15 min extraction time where the Total Chl content increased by 29 times (compared to the non-ultrasonicated sample), and for the Nostoc punctiforme, 30 min extraction time gave the highest metabolite recovery of 6.4 times higher than the non-ultrasonicated sample. Ultrasonicated algal extracts were then tested for their nematicidal potential against root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne hapla, in infested field soil samples. Experimental study was conducted using different concentrations of each microalga, Trichormus sp. and Nostoc sp., individually, as well as in combination. The nematode count for the treated soil was compared with that of the control (untreated soil). Ultrasonicated microalgal extracts showed 66% to 100% inhibition on root-knot nematodes in the soil samples tested.