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Durable resistance management of the soil-borne quarantine nematode pests Meloidogyne chitwoodi and M. fallax

There is no adequate durable alternative to the use of toxic chemicals to control soil-borne pests on major European arable crops. The project aims to contribute to sustainable production systems by developing a durable resistance management strategy, achieved by integrating expertise in breeding, nematology, botany and molecular biology, novel by its European dimension. It will result in resistant germplasm, characterised pathogen isolates, reliable selection methods/tools, knowledge of resistance stability, molecular markers, genetic maps and advice on improved rotations.

The proposal's main objective is to combat a major European problem, the use of highly poisonous chemicals in the control of soil-borne pests. Therefore, tools and strategies for the introduction and management of durable plant resistance to soil-borne pests will be developed and disseminated, using the quarantine nematodes Meloidogyne chitwoodi and M. Fallax as a model, both of which are an economic threat. Techniques and strategies will also be developed to identify durable resistance genes in host plants and virulence genes in M. Chitwoodi and M. Fallax. Investigating rotations of the susceptible potato with resistant plants of Italian rye grass and fodder radish will optimise sustainable production systems. The durable resistance will serve as an effective and environmental sound control measure against the damaging effects of both nematodes. This will contribute to a sustainable agriculture and a healthy environment because it will make the treatment of these soil-borne pests less dependent on poisonous chemicals.

Progress to Date
During the first reporting year, virulent and avirulent selections of two M. chitwoodi isolates (discriminating on S. bulbocastanum genotypes) were multiplied on selected S. bulbocastanum genotypes and further propagated. Surprisingly, many of the M. chitwoodi isolates, originating from field populations, are species-mixtures.
In vivo screening methods have been developed for fodder radish and Italian rye grass.
Genetic variability in a population was confirmed by molecular studies. Protein electrophoresis procedures have been optimised, allowing a more sensitive and stable analysis of protein composition of virulent and avirulent isolates.
The website was set up for publication of non-confidential project output. Results were made available to end-users by publications, abstracts and poster presentation at different levels.

In Year 2, the first DNA patterns of M. chitwoodi and M. fallax showed tremendous variation between isolates within the species, allowing distinction between groups of isolates only, and not of single isolates. Screening in fodder radish and Italian ryegrass during the second year revealed clear differences in nematode resistance within and between accessions. AFLP markers were developed for three resistance genes in pepper (two against M. chitwoodi and one against M. incognita) and for one in potato. In vitro culture conditions for the four target crops and infection conditions were optimised. From histological studies on the incompatible and compatible interactions of M. chitwoodi with Solanum bulbocastanum, it is speculated that resistance is not affecting penetration, but may affect the location of settling, cell cycle and cell wall processes, and slow hypersensitive response. Histological and ultrastructural studies on the other crops are in progress.

Benefits and beneficiaries:
1) screening methods for potato, pepper, Italian ryegrass and fodder radish (breeders)
2) sources of resistance in potato, pepper, Italian ryegrass and fodder radish (breeders)
3) host status of new resistant accessions under field and/or pot conditions (growers, extension services and breeders)
4) molecular markers for resistance in Capsicum annuum and Solanum fendleri (breeders)
5) knowledge on pathogenic variability in M. chitwoodi on fodder radish, pepper and potato (breeders, growers, extension services and the scientific community)
6) putative nematode and plant genes involved in compatible and incompatible interactions (scientific community, breeders).


Scientist responsible for the project

(Droevendaalsesteeg 1; building 107) Box 16
6700 AA Wageningen
Netherlands (The) - NL

Phone: +31 317476252
Fax: +31 317418094


Project ID QLRT-1999-01462
Organisation Plant Research International B.V.
Area 5.1.1
Start date 01 February 2000
Duration (months) 48
Total cost 4 506 010 €
Total EC contribution   2 608 299 €
Status Completed

The partners

  • Plant Research International B.V., Wageningen, Netherlands (The) - NL

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