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ARS Home » Pacific West Area » Corvallis, Oregon » Horticultural Crops Disease and Pest Management Research Unit » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #388896

Research Project: Development of Knowledge-based Approaches for Disease Management in Small Fruit and Nursery Crops

Location: Horticultural Crops Disease and Pest Management Research Unit

Title: What is the optimal way to assess Meloidogyne spp. reproduction in greenhouse pot experiments?

item Anderson, Olivia
item Wram, Catherine
item Zasada, Inga

Submitted to: Journal of Nematology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/4/2022
Publication Date: 5/17/2022
Citation: Anderson, O.P., Wram, C.L., Zasada, I.A. 2022. What is the optimal way to assess Meloidogyne spp. reproduction in greenhouse pot experiments? Journal of Nematology. 54(1). Article 3922.

Interpretive Summary: Plant-parasitic nematodes are microscopic round worms that can cause economic losses to most agricultural crops. A first step often used to evaluate ways to control nematodes is controlled studies in a greenhouse. However, there are no standardized methods for conducting these types of experiments. Research was conducted to determine the optimal conditions to conduct greenhouse experiments with nematodes. A methodology that utilized the least amount of resources and could be completed in a short time frame was developed. Results will be used by scientists to improve methods for conducting greenhouse experiments with nematodes.

Technical Abstract: Meloidogyne spp. are often the subject of research for the development of plant-parasitic nematode management strategies, improvement of molecular nematode identification efforts, and understanding plant-nematode interactions. They are an ideal model plant-parasitic nematode system due to their short generation time, the development of a unique host feeding site, ubiquitous nature and host range that includes most vascular plants. Often research efforts that address both practical concerns of managing Meloidogyne spp. and understanding their basic biology involve greenhouse reproduction assays. However, there is little consensus in regards to what parameters should be used to conduct greenhouse assays including the optimal length of time an assay should run, what pot size is best suited for nematode reproduction, initial inoculation density, and what life stage should be used for inoculum. The goal of this research was to evaluate the how pot size, Meloidogyne spp. inoculation life stage, inoculation density, and time of assay impacted final reproduction factor (RF = initial nematode density/final nematode density) values. In experiments with M. incognita, the factor of pot size mattered, with higher RF values in pots containing 500 g soil vs. pots with 100 g soil; larger pots containing 3,000 g soil did not have RF values different from the aforementioned sizes. The inoculation life stage also significantly impacted RF value outcomes. Inoculating with M. incognita J2 resulted in RF values on average of > 2 fold higher then when inoculating with eggs at comparable densities. Inoculation density of M. incognita did not have an impact on final M. incognita RF values. In experiments that considered time of assay three species were considered: M. incognita, M. chitwoodi, and M. hapla. There was no difference in M. incognita RF values when assays were conducted for 5, 6, 7 and 8 weeks. However, a longer assay time resulted in higher RF values for M. hapla and M. chitwoodi with at least a 7 week assay required. In conclusion, a moderate pot size (500 g of soil) inoculated with M. incognita J2 will result in maximum RF values. The length of the assay required will depend on the Meloidogyne spp. in question, with longer duration assays required for M. hapla and M. chitwoodi than for M. incognita.