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Water Consumption of Plants Attacked By Nematodes and Mechanisms of Growth Reduction

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For more content, see Nematology.

Attack on oats by Heterodera avenae, on white clover by H. trifolii, and on perennial rye grass and on oats by Tylenchorhynchus dubius did not affect water consumption/g plant/day or dry matter content of plants directly at population densities smaller than 25 T (T as in y = m + (1-m) ZP-T (1) for P T, where y = relative plant weight, P = nematode density, z-T = 1. 05 and m = a constant < 1). There may be an indirect effect, which could lead to a slight overestimation of plant weight at large nematode densities if it is assumed to be proportional to water consumption/plant. At nematode densities larger than 25-32 T nematode attack reduced water consumption/g plant/day and increased dry matter content of the plants. In an experiment with T. dubius on oats the relation between nematode density P and relative plant weight y was in close accordance with the equation y = {m + (1-m1)zP-T} (m2 + (1-m2)zP/25} (2) thus revealing two mechanisms of growth reduction, one effective at nematode densities > T and the other at densities > 25 T. Two mechanisms of growth reduction could also be postulated for oats infected with H. avenae, for perennial rye grass with T. dubius and for white clover with H. trifolii. Three different mechanisms by which nematode attack interferes with the growth of plants are distinguished, causing: (1) reduction of the rate of growth and development, without further changes, (2) growth reduction associated with a reduction of water consumption/g plant/day and increase of dry matter content and (3) increase of the shoot weight to root weight ratio and decrease of water consumption/g plant/day with reduction of the rate of growth as a possible consequence.

Affiliations: 1: Research Institute for Plant Protection, Wageningen, The Netherlands


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