N-Hibit Cotton Seed Treatment causes a substantial reduction in nematode eggs in a unique manner — it turns on the cotton plant's natural defense and growth systems, and they do the work. The result is an effective tool that isn't an insecticide, but that still helps cotton farmers reduce crop losses to the root feeding damage of nematodes.

N-Hibit was launched by Eden Bioscience Corporation during the Beltwide Cotton Conferences, where nematode control was one of the major topics. The National Cotton Council estimates that nematodes cost more than $250 million dollars in lost bales a year across the Cotton Belt, said Rhett Atkins, Eden Bioscience president and CEO.

“N-Hibit Seed Treatment has a unique inside-out activity in that the harpin protein in N-Hibit binds with receptors on the outside of the plant, which in turn switches on the plant's growth and defense capabilities,” Atkins said. “One result is a decrease in important aspects of nematode reproduction.”

Plants have many ways to fight off and grow through stress situations and attacks from parasites such as nematodes, and scientists believe harpin proteins trigger one or more of them.

“We are continuing research into the precise biological mechanisms that interfere with the normally prolific egg laying of nematodes,” said Atkins. “Meanwhile, research at the University of Arkansas, Auburn University, and by independent research contractors has clearly documented the effectiveness of N-Hibit.

“The University of Arkansas research found that N-Hibit Seed Treatment reduced root-knot nematode eggs per dry root weight by 55 percent. This and other related recent research findings were detailed in presentations at the Beltwide.”

Atkins noted that other nematode control products go onto the plant or into the soil and have either an outside-in (systemic) or an outside-only mode of action. In contrast, N-Hibit and other Harp-N-Tek products featuring harpin proteins have no direct effect themselves on any pest or on the plant's external environment. Harp-N-Tek products make the plant do the protection work itself, from inside.

Harpin proteins are produced by disease-causing bacteria that attack plants, but harpin proteins are not part of the disease. Instead, they serve the beneficial purpose of alerting plants that they are under attack. This induces a systemic response that initiates a sequence of self-defense and growth reactions within the plant.

Even when sprayed directly on a seed or plant, Harp-N-Tek products do not actually enter the seed or plant. They bind with the plant's external harpin protein receptors, trigger the plant's internal signals and self-defense mechanisms, then harmlessly disintegrate, leaving no detectable residue. With N-Hibit Seed Treatment, the plant itself will then trigger the reduction in nematode eggs.

Eden Bioscience pioneered the use of harpin proteins in a new category of products, plant health regulators that feature Harp-N-Tek technology. The presentations at the Beltwide included an update on research with ProAct, a next-generation Harp-N-Tek foliar spray. When applied with glyphosate, it is shown to provide a substantial yield boost and other benefits, Atkins noted.

When ProAct is registered, which should be in time for the 2005 growing season, producers will be able to implement an under-and-over plant health program featuring N-Hibit Seed Treatment followed by ProAct applied along with post-emergence herbicide.

N-Hibit Seed Treatment complements other nematode management tools and also is a good fit for IPM programs needing the added advantage of N-Hibit's environmentally preferable, non-toxic inside-out mode of action, Atkins noted.

N-Hibit costs a fraction of standard plant protection products and is available as a commercial seed treatment applied by the seed dealer or as a hopper box formulation easily applied on the farm.

For more information about N-Hibit Seed Treatment, contact a local seed dealer or agri-retailer or visit the company's Web site at www.edenbio.com, or call the Eden customer service line at 888-879-2420.