Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: February 26, 1997
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Scotch Bonnet and Habanero peppers, members of a very pungent pepper species not commonly grown in the United States (Capsicum chinense), are becoming increasingly popular in the American diet. Since the southern root-knot nematode is a major pest of the pepper species that is commonly grown in the United States (Capsicum annuum), a series of experiments was conducted to determine whether Scotch Bonnet and Habanero peppers are also vulnerable to the pest. Scotch Bonnet and Habanero cultigens were collected from all available private and commercial sources, and each cultigen was tested for resistance to the southern root-knot nematode. All Habanero cultigens and all cultigens collected from commercial seed sources were susceptible. However, several Scotch Bonnet cultigens obtained from private "heirloom" seed collectors were resistant. Detailed field evaluations of the resistant Scotch Bonnet cultigens indicated that they are potentially useful by both home gardeners and commercial farmers without any further development. Additionally, these Scotch Bonnet cultigens should be excellent sources of resistance for breeding root-knot nematode resistant Habanero peppers.
Technical Abstract: Scotch Bonnet and Habanero peppers, extremely pungent cultivar classes of Capsicum chinense Jacq., are increasing in popularity in the United States. Because the southern root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & W Chitwood, is a major pest of many C. annuum cultivars, a series of greenhouse and field experiment was conducted to determine if Scotch Bonnet tand Habanero peppers are also vulnerable to the pest. An effort was made to collect Scotch Bonnet and Habanero cultigens from all available commercial and private sources. In an initial greenhouse test, a collection of 59 C. chinense cultigens was evaluated for reaction to M. incognita race 3. All cultigens obtained from commercial sources were moderately susceptible or susceptible. However, four accessions obtained through Seed Savers Exchange listings exhibited high levels of resistance. Three of these cultigens (PA-353, PA-398, and PA-426) were studied in subsequent greenhouse and field plantings, and each was confirmed to have level of resistance similar to the levels of resistance available in C. annuum. All three of the resistant cultigens are well-adapted, Scotch Bonnet type peppers, and each is potentially useful in commercial production without further development. None of the Habanero cultigens was resistant to the southern root-knot nematode.