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Cryptobiosis of the Cereal Cyst Nematode (Heterodera Avenae), and Effects of Temperature and Relative Humidity On Survival of Eggs in Storage

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Laboratory experiments, under controlled conditions of temperature and relative humidity, showed that eggs within cysts of Heterodera avenae are able to survive in a state of cryptobiosis for at least 5.5 years when stored at either 75 % R.H. and 5°C, or at 40 % R.H. and 15°. The results suggest that storage at 40 % R.H. and 5° could be even more favourable to survival. Discrepancies with European observations on the effects of desiccation on H. avenae are explained by differences in experimental technique and in the age and condition of the cysts used. In a saturated atmosphere, survival was poor; at 21°, eggs decomposed rapidly; at 15° larval emergence was less than 1 % after one year of storage, and after 2 years at 5°, viability as judged by chrysoidin staining, had declined more rapidly than in cysts stored dry. The latter treatment, however, appeared to induce dormancy or a hatching periodicity so that, when hatched at 15°, there was no larval emergence for a period of 24 weeks. Hatching then recommenced and finally resulted in the emergence of about 10% of the initial egg content. Results may explain the apparent absence of the cereal cyst nematode in regions which do not experience a cold, wet winter or hot, dry summer and the probable spread of H. avenae by wind-blown cysts.

Affiliations: 1: School of Agriculture and Forestry, University of Melbourne, Parkville, Victoria, 3052, Australia


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