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Ways to improve the accuracy of hatching tests for Globodera spp. with special emphasis on nematicide trials

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For more content, see Nematologica.

Hatching tests are laborious and yield variable results. In this paper, sources of variability have been identified and analysed, and solutions are presented. A method was developed to conduct hatching tests using inert materials to minimise the total variation at the end of the test. Hatching tests were carried out to increase reliability, optimise the method and limit the amount of work. Thus, it was possible to obtain a coefficient of variation (cv) of the hatching process, which was in accordance with the combined errors expected when a certain number of cysts are treated and eggs are used. An Appendix is provided listing the different errors and ways to calculate and cope with them. The results indicate that the hatching process is no longer an important source of variation for the end result. All variation greater than expected could be explained by variation between batches with the same treatment, indicating that small differences in nematicide application cause major differences in the end result. The treatment effect was more important in field experiments than in laboratory experiments. The hatching curve could be described adequately by a log-logistic curve with three parameters (λ, final number of hatched juveniles; α, time; t when cumulative hatch equals 0.5 × λ; β, slope parameter). Addition of a fourth parameter (γ, incubation time) improved the fit significantly. Using the log-logistic model, final hatch could be predicted with a certain error, but in general final hatch was underestimated. When an error of 5% was accepted, the duration of hatching tests using laboratory reared cysts could be reduced by 80% for untreated batches and by 40 to 80% for batches treated with nematicides. The acceptable reduction in hatching test duration was negatively correlated with the concentration of the fumigant used. Hatching tests with cysts originating from field experiments are unsuitable for prediction using a time-limited data set. Compound hatching curves were distinguished in four of six fields, indicating that the soil samples contained at least two proportions of cysts with different hatching responses. Prediction would cause a significant underestimation of final hatch and consequently an overestimation of mortality.


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