VAST female scientist’s work published in Nature

Dr. Nguyen Thi Anh Duong from the Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources, Vietnam Academy of Science and Technology (VAST), and international scientists have announced articles in Nature - the most prestigious scientific journal in the world (July 2019).

Nature was first published in 1869 and ranked as the most prestigious and cited scientific journal. Only works with outstanding scientific quality are accepted for publication.

Nematode sampling locations worldwide

Nematodes are the most diverse and abundant group of organisms in the world. They live in almost all environments, from saltwater, freshwater, free-living or parasitic environments. Studies on plant nematodes and marine nematodes have been carried out for a long time around the world. But studies of free-living nematode groups in the soil are very limited. They are one of the diverse groups of organisms and play an important role in all links of the food web, contributing to the circulation of carbon, nutrients and mineralization in the soil. Nematodes feed on bacteria, fungi, plants and other soil organisms and release mineralized materials, circulating carbon in the soil. This activity helps improve soil and create mineral and carbon materials for plant growth. Nematodes are often more active when the temperature rises. Therefore, nematode populations in the North Pole and near the North Pole are used as a criteria to evaluate and show sensitivity when the temperature of the region heats up.

The number of nematodes in 100 grams of dry soil worldwide

Dr. Nguyen Thi Anh Duong has been involved in conducting research and data collection, building a database on nematodes in Vietnam for over ten years, collaborating with 70 leading scientists in the field of nematodes at 57 laboratories around the world to jointly research and publish this work. In this study, 6,759 soil samples from around the world representing 73 sub-climatic regions were collected and analyzed to determine the diversity and function of these small organisms. 
Research shows that the number of free-living nematodes in the soil is much larger than in previous studies. They have a number of about 4.4 ± 0.64 × 1020 and a total biomass of about 300 million tons - approximately 80% of combined weight of 7.7 billion people, equivalent to the population on earth. The study also provides evidence that the majority of nematodes are concentrated at high latitudes: 38.7% exist in northern forests and tundras throughout North America, Scandinavia and Russia, 24.5% in temperate regions, only 20.5% in tropical and subtropical regions. This can be considered as the most massive scientific data set ever.

The beauty of nematodes under scanning electron microscopy (SEM): A, Tricironema tamdaoensis; B: Acrobeloides topali, C: Acrobeloides topali

Collected nematode samples in the soil at the field (Huu Lung, Lang Son) in 2013

The research results on free-living nematodes in soil play an important role in building a scientific basis for developing a sustainable world. In particular, the applications of this group of organisms are designed to predict global climate change. It can be seen that nematode is a narrow specialty, but it plays an important role in opening up new directions of research and application.

Dr. Nguyen Thi Anh Duong, at the UN Sustainable Development Workshop held in Bonn, 2018

Translated by Tuyet Nhung
Link to Vietnamese version

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