Tapeworms are flat, long parasites that feed on the nutrients of its host. Tapeworms and similar species infect animals and humans by first infecting crops consumed by both, according to the Harvard University. Root crops are vulnerable because the edible portion grows below the surface, making parasitic worm infection easier. Prevention and control are necessary for controlling tapeworms in root crops so that the parasite does not transfer to other hosts.
Nematodes are a soil borne, microscopic parasite related to tapeworms that are a common pest of root crops. Plant nematodes, referred to as plant-parasitic nematodes, come in many varieties including migratory ectoparasites, sedentary ectoparasites, migratory endoparasites and sedentary endoparasites, according to the Plant Disease Control Oregon State University. The categories of plant-parasitic nematodes refer to their feeding behavior on plant roots, where migratory ectoparasites nematodes invade individual root cells without going in root tissue and sedentary endoparasites move freely throughout root tissue. The other two categories move in and out of root tissue until they find a feeding site. Symptoms of infection consist of yellowing patches, wilt, deformation and discoloration, according to the Plant Disease Control Oregon State University Extension. However, minor infestations rarely cause substantial harm to the host plant. Removing infected plants and pesticide control is effective for controlling nematode populations.
Helminths are a type of parasitic worm related to tapeworms that infect roots of crop plants and edible portions of root crops. The parasitic worms infect crops from swine and carnivore animal manure, reports the Washington State University. Helminths infect roots and leaves of low growing plants that are exposed to infected manure or soil. The pathogen can infect humans and animals that consume infected crops; therefore, it is important to prevent infection. The Washington State University (Reference 3) recommends not using fresh manure and composting manure at high temperatures in order to kill the parasite before using the manure on root crops.
Tapeworms are a microscopic parasite that affects both plants and humans through contact of infected manure. The University of Maine recommends using composted manure that reaches a temperature above 140 degrees F, use commercially available composted manure when possible and avoid using unsafe water sources, such as water from a rain barrel or old well. Root crops are especially susceptible to infection because of their close contact to manure and soil. To prevent tapeworm infections on root crops avoid using raw manure from any source and apply manure 120 days before crops have soil contact, according to the University of Maine.