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The Relation Between Density of Heterodera Rostochiensis and Growth and Yield of Two Potato Varieties

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The potato variety 'Multa' was more tolerant to attack by Heterodera rostochiensis than several other varieties in two field experiments. The results of a pot experiment with the varieties 'Multa' and 'Libertas' suggest that attack by this nematode reduces plant weight in two ways: at medium to high densities there is a reduction of the rate of growth of the roots associated with necrosis of root tips caused by the penetration of second stage larvae and at lower densities because of the development of giant cells. At high nematode densities the first cause of damage checked the growth of the plants almost entirely in the first weeks after planting and also kept tuber yield low. The second type of damage only resulted in a small reduction of the yield. In both varieties, when grown at a low nitrogen fertilizer level, haulms were considerably longer and also a little heavier finally at high than at low nematode densities. This suggests growth stimulation. However, the relation between nematode density and plant weight, as found in the experiments, could be explained without having recourse to this hypothesis, by assuming that the invasion necrosis retarded the development of the plants and delayed the moment tuber formation began but did not influence the growth of the tubers. The development of the plants was thereby shifted partly to a period with longer days and higher temperatures resulting in taller plants. Tolerance limits were 1.5 eggs per g of soil for 'Libertas' at low nitrogen fertilizer level and 6 eggs per g of soil for 'Multa' at the same fertilizer level. Minimum yields of 'Libertas' and 'Multa' were 10% and 30% of the maximum yields respectively.

Affiliations: 1: Institute of Phytopathological Research, Wageningen, the Netherlands


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