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Life cycle and damage of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne minor on potato, Solanum tuberosum

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Meloidogyne minor is a root-knot nematode reported in Belgium, Ireland, The Netherlands, Portugal, United Kingdom, Chile and the United States. It is found in sport fields and golf courses where it causes the yellow patch disease. However, M. minor has also been detected in potato fields in The Netherlands and the UK and may pose a threat for potato cultivation. Therefore, the life cycle and damage of M. minor on potato cv. Bintje were examined under controlled conditions. To assess its life cycle, young potato plants were inoculated with freshly hatched second-stage juveniles (J2). The developmental stages of M. minor were recorded at weekly intervals after inoculation until second generation J2 were detected. One week after inoculation, only vermiform juveniles were found in the roots. All juveniles were swollen after 3 weeks and the first adult females were observed. Egg masses were seen after 6 weeks together with second generation J2. The number of degree days for M. minor to complete its life cycle was calculated using a base temperature of 5°C (DD5); between 606 and 727 DD5 were needed to complete the life cycle. Damage development of M. minor on potato was examined in a pot experiment with different inoculation densities. Symptoms (galling on the tubers) were similar to those caused by M. chitwoodi and M. fallax. At initial population densities (Pi) of 10 J2 (100 cm3 soil)−1 and more, tubers showed galls. Severely damaged potato tubers were observed at Pi≥50 J2 (100 cm3 soil)−1 and a damage threshold of 41 J2 (100 cm3 soil)−1 was calculated. An in vitro test showed that five, commonly grown, potato cultivars were good hosts for M. minor. Based on our results, M. minor is able to develop on potato and cause severe damage at low initial population densities. Therefore, further spread of this nematode in agricultural fields should be avoided.

Affiliations: 1: 2Faculty of Science, Department of Biology, Ghent University, K.L. Ledeganckstraat 35, B-9000 Ghent, Belgium


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