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Feeding Behaviour and Pathogenicity of Xiphinema Index On Grapevine Roots

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The feeding behaviour of Xiphinema index on grapevine roots in agar was studied with different observation chambers. The nematodes fed on excised roots preferring the zone of elongation of growing rootlets, then just emerging rootlets, callus tissue developing from cuts, wounds, and, last, slightly lignified tissue. The cell wall is perforated by a twisting action of the nematode's odontostyle. Soon after perforation, rhythmical contractions of the basal oesophageal bulb occur at a rate of about 70 contractions per 30 sec. On each contraction the bulb is stretched and the oesophageal lumen is dilated. Upon muscular relaxation the bulb shortens again and the lumen narrows from front to back thus forcing food into the intestine. Pumping is usually intermittent. The length of the period nematodes stay at one feeding site can vary from several minutes to several days. Root areas already fed on strongly attract the nematodes so that crowding often results at single sites. Attacked roots turn brown and swell at the tips. Epidermal and outer cortical cells collapse at feeding sites and show necrosis. In growing roots multinucleate cells, which are considerably enlarged and contain dense cytoplasm, are formed beneath the layer of necrotic cells. The development and significance of these modified cells is not yet clear.

Affiliations: 1: Biologische Bundesanstalt, Toppheideweg 88, D-4400 Münster; 2: Institut für Pflanzenkrankheiten und Pflanzenschutz der Technischen Universität, D-3000 Hannover

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