Submitted to: HortScience
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: March 6, 1998
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: The southern root-knot nematode is a major pest of bell peppers, and the principal control method at present is soil fumigation with methyl bromide. The southern root-knot nematode is one of the major reasons why peppers account for almost 12% of the preplant methyl bromide utilization in the United States. The ideal solution to this bell pepper pest problem would be the use of resistant cultivars, but none of the cultivars currently available to U.S. growers exhibits adequate resistance. In the early 1980's, efforts were initiated at the U.S. Vegetable Laboratory in Charleston, SC, to transfer a resistance gene from the pimento cultivar Mississippi Nemaheart into the popular bell cultivar Keystone Resistant Giant. These efforts resulted in the April 1997 release of the southern root-knot nematode resistant cultivar Charleston Belle. Charleston Belle is almost identical to Keystone Resistant Giant in yield and fruit characteristics. Charleston Belle is recommended for use by both home gardeners and commercial growers. In light of the future restrictions on the use of methyl bromide in the U.S., the development of a resistant cultivar is critical for continued production of bell peppers in areas where soils are infested with southern root-knot nematodes.
Technical Abstract: The USDA has released a new, open-pollinated, bell-type pepper (Capsicum annuum) cultivar that is homozygous for the N gene conditioning a high level of resistance to the southern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita). The new cultivar, named Charleston Belle, is the product of a recurrent backcrossing procedure to transfer the N gene from the pimento-type cultivar Mississippi Nemaheart into the bell-type cultivar Keystone Reistant Giant (KRG). Charleston Belle originated from a bulked F3 population derived from the sixth backcross. Charleston Belle is similar in appearance and maturity to KRG. Results of replicated field tests indicated that the fruit and yield characteristics of Charleston Belle are almost identical to those of KRG. The new cultivar has exhibited a high level of resistance in all greenhouse and field tests; the numbers of galls and egg masses on the roots have always been minimal. The resistance exhibited by Charleston Bell is equal to that exhibited by the donor of the N gene, Mississippi Nemaheart. Charleston Belle is recommended for use by both home gardeners and commercial growers. Because of the gene conditioning the root-knot nematode resistance is dominant, Charleston Belle is potentially a valuable parental line for developing root-knot nematode resistant hybrid bell-type cultivars.