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Judy A. Thies and Richard L. Fery

Heat stability of the N gene that confers resistance to the southern root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood in pepper (Capsicum annuum L.), was determined at 24, 28, and 32°C. Responses of resistant bell pepper cultivars Charleston Belle and Carolina Wonder (homozygous for the N gene) and their respective susceptible recurrent backcross parents, `Keystone Resistant Giant' and `Yolo Wonder B', to M. incognita were compared. Numbers of eggs/g fresh root, reproductive factor of M. incognita, numbers of second-stage juveniles in soil, egg mass production, and root galling increased (P < 0.05) for all cultivars as temperature increased. The response of the resistant cultivars to temperature increase was less dramatic than the response of the susceptible cultivars. Both `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' exhibited a partial loss of resistance at 28 and 32 °C. Reproduction of M. incognita was minimal on the resistant cultivars at 24 °C, but increased at higher temperatures. However, at 32 °C reproduction of M. incognita on the resistant cultivars was only 20% of that on the susceptible cultivars and root gall indices were within the range considered moderately resistant. Unlike the susceptible cultivars, the shoot dry weights of the resistant cultivars were not suppressed at 32 °C. This suggests that `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' may be somewhat tolerant to M. incognita at high soil temperatures. Although results indicate a partial loss of resistance occurred in `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' under high soil temperatures, resistant cultivars may be a useful component of cropping systems designed to manage M. incognita in hot climates.

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies

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 & White) Chitwood, is a major pest of many C. annuum cultivars, a series of greenhouse and field experiments was conducted to determine if Scotch Bonnet and Habanero peppers from available commercial and private sources also are vulnerable to the pest. 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 a level of resistance similar to that available in C. annuum. All three of the resistant cultigens are well-adapted and each is potentially useful in commercial production without further development. None of the Habanero cultigens was resistant to the southern root-knot nematode. The resistant Scotch Bonnet cultigens may serve as sources of resistance for development of root-knot nematode—resistant Habanero peppers.

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies

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Richard L. Fery* and Judy A. Thies

Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) are major pests of pepper (Capsicum spp.) in the United States, and parasitism of susceptible plants can result in severe yield losses. Although cultivars belonging to the species C. annuum account for most of the peppers grown in the United States. Habanero-type cultivars belonging to the species C. chinense are becoming increasingly popular. Unfortunately, all commercial Habanero-type cultivars are susceptible to root-knot nematodes. In 1997, the USDA released three C. chinense germplasm lines that exhibit high levels of resistance to root-knot nematodes. The resistance in these lines is conditioned by a single dominant gene, and this gene conditions resistance to the southern root-knot nematode (M. incognita), the peanut root-knot nematode (M. arenaria race 1), and the tropical root-knot nematode (M. javanica). A recurrent backcross breeding procedure has been used to transfer the C. chinense root-knot nematode resistance gene in Habanero-type germplasm. Several root-knot nematode resistant, Habanero-type candidate cultivars have been developed. Each of these Habanero-type candidate cultivars has a compact plant habit and produces a high yield of orange-colored, lantern-shaped fruit.

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies

The USDA–ARS has released a new Habanero-type pepper cultivar named TigerPaw-NR. The new cultivar is the product of a conventional recurrent backcross breeding procedure to transfer a dominant root-knot nematode resistance gene from the Scotch Bonnet accession PA-426 into the Habanero-type accession PA-350. TigerPaw-NR was derived from a single F3BC4 plant grown in 2002. TigerPaw-NR is homozygous for a dominant gene conditioning a high level of resistance to the southern root-knot nematode, the peanut root-knot nematode, and the tropical root-knot nematode. TigerPaw-NR has a compact plant habit and produces attractive lantern-shaped, orange-colored fruit. The results of three replicated field studies conducted at Charleston, S.C., indicate that the fruit and yield characteristics of TigerPaw-NR are comparable to those of currently available Habanero-type cultivars. A typical fruit weighs 7.8 g, is 2.7 cm wide × 4.4 cm long, and is extremely pungent (348,634 Scoville heat units). Root-knot nematodes are major pests of peppers in the United States, and all Habanero-type cultivars currently available to commercial growers and home gardeners are susceptible. The root-knot nematode resistant TigerPaw-NR is recommended for use by both commercial growers and home gardeners. Protection for TigerPaw-NR is being sought under the Plant Variety Protection Act.