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Effects of Potato Cyst-Nematodes On Potato Plants

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image of Nematologica
For more content, see Nematology.

Observations of potato plant growth were made in plots containing a wide range of potato cyst-nematode populations following the use of resistant or susceptible varieties combined with fumigation treatments. Potato plants infested with many potato cyst-nematodes grew more slowly, were dwarfed, had smaller leaves and senesced earlier than plants with few nematodes but growth of Maris Piper, a variety resistant to Heterodera rostochiensis Woll. (pathotype A), was less affected than that of a susceptible variety, Pentland Dell. Throughout their growth nematode-infested plants contained less potassium in their foliage than uninfested plants and they were probably less efficient at taking up potassium. Although feeding nematodes probably abstracted a significant amount of nitrogen from heavily-attacked plants, the percentage of nitrogen in the haulm dry matter was little affected and did not seem to be a major factor limiting growth. There was no indication that photosynthetic capacity per unit area was lessened in the leaves of plants with root systems infested by many nematodes. Final yields were decreased by nematodes because infested plants were smaller and because they senesced earlier than plants infested with few nematodes.

Affiliations: 1: Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Herts., England


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