Burrowing nematode (Radopholus similis) is a major pest of many important agricultural crops throughout subtropical and tropical regions. An endoparasitic migratory nematode, burrowing nematode spends its life inside the root where it feeds and reproduces (Duncan and Moens, 2006). Commonly known for its infestations on citrus (Citrus sp.) and banana (Musa acuminata), burrowing nematode is a pest of quarantine importance (Class A in California, A2 in Europe) that results in strict regulations on potted plant exports from infested regions.
In Hawaii, burrowing nematode causes anthurium decline with limited options for management (Aragaki et al., 1984). Dark lesions visible on anthurium (Anthurium andraeanum) roots during the initial stages of infestation lead to root rot, blackening, and eventual destruction of the root system. The overall plant height as well as leaf development are retarded by infestations of burrowing nematode (Sipes and Lichty, 2002). Fewer flowers are produced because flowers are subtended by each new leaf. Commercial cultivars average less than six leaves per flowers per year per plant in noninfested conditions. Infested plants become severely stunted, resulting in yield reductions of up to 50% (Sipes and Lichty, 2002). Screening of commercial anthurium cultivars and hybrids in Hawaii revealed no obvious resistance to burrowing nematode (Wang et al., 1997).
Anthuriums are the most important cut flower in the Hawaiian floriculture industry with a farm gate value of $2.7 million (U.S. Department of Agriculture and Hawaii Department of Agriculture, 2019). Even so, maximum production is not being achieved due to yield reductions and high production costs associated with bacterial blight and plant-parasitic nematodes. Historically commercial anthurium growers have treated nematode-infested fields with fenamiphos, but since its voluntary removal from the market (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, 2011), no postplant nematicides have been demonstrated effective in managing anthurium decline.
Fluopyram was first introduced as a fungicide in 2007 and later as a nematicide in 2014. Due to the efficacy of this chemical, significant increases in yield and quality were demonstrated in field tests with several agriculturally important crops (Jeschke, 2016). Fluopyram inhibits the mitochondrial respiratory chain in plant-parasitic nematodes, resulting in a depletion of energy and immobilization of the organism. In-furrow applications of fluopyram combined with imidacloprid reduced root-knot (Meloidogyne incognita) and reniform nematode (Rotylenchulus reniformis) population densities in cotton (Gossypium sp.) plantings (Lawrence et al., 2014). Fluopyram suppressed sting nematodes (Belonolaimus longicaudatus) in turf with effects being observed for 6 to 8 months after the final application (Crow et al., 2017).
The systemic nature of fluopyram allows it to penetrate the roots and target migratory endoparasitic nematodes. In tea (Camellia sinensis) plantations, fluopyram at 600 to 800 g·ha−1 was found to be effective for control of burrowing nematode (Mohotti et al., 2018). Yield increases of 45% were observed with fluopyram treatments in banana infested with burrowing and banana root nematodes [Pratylenchus coffeae (Vawa et al., 2019)].
Fluopyram could be useful for limiting damage caused by plant-parasitic nematodes in anthurium cut flower production. This research focuses on examining the potential of two fluopyram formulations, Indemnify and Luna Sensation (Bayer CropScience, Research Triangle Park, NC) against burrowing nematode in field grown anthurium. Indemnify is registered as a fungicide with nematicidal properties on turfgrass and contains only the active ingredient fluopyram (34.5%). Luna Sensation contains fluopyram (21.4%) and trifloxystrobin (21.4%) as active ingredients and is registered as a fungicide for use on fruit and vegetable crops. The specific objectives of this study were to assess their efficacy in 1) reducing burrowing nematode populations and 2) increasing cut flower yields.
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