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Penetration of the Citrus Nematode in Relation To Root Development 1)

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For more content, see Nematology.

The penetration of the citrus nematode Tylenchulus semipenetrans Cobb into the growing root of its host was studied in vitro as well as in soil with seedlings of three known hosts of the nematode. In vitro, larvae were in contact with the roots for 19 days before actually penetrating. Initial penetration of the outermost cell layers of the root tissues was achieved by larvae, and further penetration into the cortex by the young female. The total number nematodes which penetrated roots was extremely low in comparison with their abundance in the soil. No significant preference was found as to the position along the young root where the nematode penetrates. A definite relationship existed between penetration and the age of roots. Maximum penetration occurred 3-4 weeks after inoculation when roots were 4-5 weeks old, but was negligible after roots were 9 weeks old. Histological studies showed that over 80% of all penetration occurred when the roots were in the primary stage of development, and less than 2% in secondary roots with reduced cortical parenchyma. It is suggested that the penetration of the citrus nematode is determined by the changes that occur in the root cortex, which is the plant tissue upon which the nematode feeds.

Affiliations: 1: National & University Institute of Agriculture, Rehovot, Israel


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