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Population dynamics and damage potential of the burrowing nematode, Radopholus similis, on Anthurium andreanum grown in soil-less medium

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In a 14 month pot experiment with Anthurium andreanum cv. Sonate, grown in soil-less medium in glasshouse conditions, burrowing nematode (Radopholus similis) population development and crop damage were investigated. At 9 days after transplanting, plants were inoculated with R. similis at four initial densities (Pi): 0, 100, 1000 and 10 000 per pot. Three to 5 months after inoculation R. similis populations reached maximum densities ranging from 59 000 to 112 000 per pot in roots and from 500 to 1150 per litre of drainage water. The greatest densities occurred at the smallest Pi. Subsequently, nematode populations decreased in the decreasing root mass. Fourteen months after inoculation, root systems of nematode-inoculated treatments were almost completely necrotic and root weights were reduced by 84-91% compared to those of non-inoculated plants. In response to the deteriorating root systems, plant vigour of all nematode-inoculated treatments declined tremendously and flower production was significantly less compared to non-inoculated plants at 6 months after inoculation. During the last 2 months of the experiment, reductions in flowers ranged from 46-70% (number), 30-53% (weight), 19-33% (stem length) and 15-31% (width). The total yield losses of these flower growth parameters, calculated over the 14-month experimental period, ranged from 18-33, 15-35, 9-19 and 6-15%, respectively. Greatest reductions occurred in plants in the treatment with the greatest Pi. In these conditions, the damage threshold was calculated to be equal to or fewer than 100 R. similis per pot.


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