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Perception of the impact of root-knot nematode-induced diseases in horticultural protected crops of south-eastern Spain

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With a surface area of 37 000 ha and an annual yield of 3 × 106 t, the south-east of Spain, predominantly the coast of Almeria, is the largest horticultural growing area under protected cultivation in Europe. A survey on perception of the impact of root-knot nematodes on vegetable production was carried out in this area by face-to-face interviews with 120 farm advisors. The survey was designed to evaluate opinions about prevalence and severity of root-knot nematode-induced diseases, percentage of infested area and effectiveness of root-knot nematode control methods. According to the answers, 17.7% of the fields were infested with root-knot nematode and 18.8% of the cultivable area within each site showed root-knot nematode disease symptoms, which came to 2.0% of the total area used to grow vegetables in the region. Average yield loss was estimated at about 30.8% of total vegetable production, and 38.1% of the farm advisors considered that root-knot nematode infections had increased over the last 5 years. Most farm advisors (78.3%) stated that the most commonly used control method was chemical soil fumigation. Non-fumigant nematicides were cited by 59.8% of them, grafting and resistant cultivars by 42.3%, soil solarisation 38.1%, plant extracts 14.4% and biofumigation 6.2%. The majority of farm advisors considered the application of fumigant nematicides combined with soil solarisation, and grafting onto resistant rootstocks as the most effective methods of root-knot nematode control. In addition to the interviews, plant and soil samples were taken from plastic greenhouses throughout the region to determine species of root-knot nematode present. Meloidogyne javanica was the most prevalent species followed by M. incognita and M. arenaria, but species distribution was linked to the predominating crop sequence in each area, since M. javanica occurred less frequently when sweet pepper rather than tomato appeared in the crop sequence.

Affiliations: 1: 1IFAPA, Centro Camino de Purchil, Camino de Purchil s/n, 18004 Granada, Spain; 2: 2IRTA, Patología Vegetal, Ctra. de Cabrils Km 2, 08348 Cabrils, Barcelona, Spain


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