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Richard L. Fery, Philip D. Dukes, and Judy A. Thies

A series of greenhouse and field studies was conducted over 9 years to characterize three new sources of resistance in cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] to the southern root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood] and to determine if the resistances are conditioned by genes allelic to the Rk root-knot nematode resistance gene in `Mississippi Silver'. Three plant introductions (PI), PI 441917, PI 441920, and PI 468104, were evaluated for reaction to M. incognita in four greenhouse tests, and in every test each PI exhibited less galling, egg mass formation, or egg production than `Mississippi Silver'. F2 populations of the crosses between `Mississippi Silver' and each of the three resistant PIs were also evaluated for root-knot nematode resistance in a greenhouse test. None of the F2 populations segregated for resistance, indicating that PI 441917, PI 441920, and PI 468104 each has a gene conditioning resistance that is allelic to the Rk gene in `Mississippi Silver'. Our observations on the superior levels of resistances exhibited by PI 441917, PI 441920, and PI 468104 suggest that the allele at the Rk locus in these lines may not be the Rk allele, but one or more alleles that condition a superior, dominant-type resistance. The availability of additional dominant alleles would broaden the genetic base for root-knot nematode resistance in cowpea.

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Philip D. Dukes Sr., Richard L. Fery, and Judy A. Thies

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Judy A. Thies, Don W. Dickson, and Richard L. Fery

Two root-knot nematode-resistant bell pepper cultivars, ‘Charleston Belle’ and ‘Carolina Wonder’ (Capsicum annuum L. var. annuum], and their susceptible parents, ‘Keystone Resistant Giant’ and ‘Yolo Wonder B’, were compared for managing the southern root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Chitwood) Kofoid and White] in fall and spring tests at Citra, FL. In the fall test, ‘Charleston Belle’ and ‘Carolina Wonder’ exhibited minimal root galling and nematode reproduction, and ‘Keystone Resistant Giant’ and ‘Yolo Wonder B’ exhibited severe root galling and high nematode reproduction. Fruit yield of ‘Charleston Belle’ was 97% greater than yields of the two susceptible cultivars (P ≤ 0.006). In the spring test, one-half of the plots were treated with methyl bromide/chloropicrin before planting the same four bell pepper cultivars. ‘Keystone Resistant Giant’ and ‘Yolo Wonder B’ grown in untreated control plots exhibited severe root galling and high nematode reproduction, but the other six cultivar × methyl bromide combinations exhibited minimal root galling and nematode reproduction. Although soil temperatures (10-cm depth) were greater than 30 °C on 78 days and 57 days during the Fall 2002 and Spring 2003 trials, respectively, resistance did not break in ‘Charleston Belle’ and ‘Carolina Wonder’ in either test. These results demonstrate that root-knot nematode-resistant cultivars such as Charleston Belle and Carolina Wonder are viable alternatives to methyl bromide for managing southern root-knot nematode in bell pepper in sub-tropical environments.

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Richard L. Fery, Philip D. Dukes Sr., and Judy A. Thies

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Judy A. Thies, Richard L. Fery, John D. Mueller, Gilbert Miller, and Joseph Varne

Resistance of two sets of bell pepper [(Capsicum annuum L. var. annuum (Grossum Group)] cultivars near-isogenic for the N gene that conditions resistance to root-knot nematodes [Meloidogyne incognita (Chitwood) Kofoid and White, M. arenaria (Neal) Chitwood races 1 and 2, and M. javanica (Treub) Chitwood] was evaluated in field tests at Blackville, S.C. and Charleston, S.C. The isogenic bell pepper sets were `Charleston Belle' (NN) and `Keystone Resistant Giant' (nn), and `Carolina Wonder' (NN) and `Yolo Wonder B' (nn). The resistant cultivars Charleston Belle and Carolina Wonder were highly resistant; root galling was minimal for both cultivars at both test sites. The susceptible cultivars Keystone Resistant Giant and Yolo Wonder B were highly susceptible; root galling was severe at both test sites. `Charleston Belle' had 96.9% fewer eggs per g fresh root than `Keystone Resistant Giant', and `Carolina Wonder' had 98.3% fewer eggs per g fresh root than `Yolo Wonder B' (averaged over both test sites). `Charleston Belle' and `Carolina Wonder' exhibited a high level of resistance in field studies at both sites. These results demonstrate that resistance conferred by the N gene for root-knot nematode resistance is effective in field-planted bell pepper. Root-knot nematode resistant bell peppers should provide economical and environmentally compatible alternatives to methyl bromide and other nematicides for managing M. incognita.

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Howard F. Harrison, Judy A. Thies, Richard L. Fery, and J. Powell Smith

A preliminary screening experiment was conducted to evaluate 47 cowpea [Vigna unguiculata, (L.) Walp.] genotypes for use as a weed-suppressing cover crop. Lines evaluated in this study included forage varieties, PI accessions, experimental breeding lines, and land races of unknown origin. Of these, 11 were selected for further testing on the basis of vigorous growth and weed-suppressing ability. In a field experiment repeated over 4 years, the selected genotypes were not different from the leading cover crop cultivar, `Iron Clay', in biomass production. Vigor ratings, vine growth ratings, and canopy widths of some genotypes exceeded those of `Iron Clay'. Vigor ratings and canopy measurements were efficient selection criteria that could be useful for breeding cover crop cowpea cultivars. All selections except an African cultivar, `Lalita', were highly resistant to southern root knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid and White) Chitwood], and the genotypes varied in seed size, photoperiod, and response to diseases.

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Howard F. Harrison, Judy A. Thies, Richard L. Fery, and J. Powell Smith

A preliminary screening experiment was conducted to evaluate 47 cowpea [Vigna unguiculata (L.) Walp.] genotypes for use as a weed-suppressing cover crop. Of these, 11 were selected for further testing on the basis of vigorous growth and weed-suppressing ability. In a field experiment repeated over 4 years, the selected genotypes were not different from the leading cover crop cultivar `Iron Clay' in biomass production. Vigor ratings, vine growth ratings, and canopy widths of some genotypes exceeded those of `Iron Clay' Vigor ratings and canopy measurements were efficient selection criteria that could be useful for breeding cover crop cowpea cultivars. All except one selection were highly resistant to southern root knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid and White) Chitwood], and the selections varied in seed size, photoperiod, and response to foliar diseases.

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Judy A. Thies, Amnon Levi, Jennifer J. Ariss, and Richard L. Hassell

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Judy A. Thies, Jennifer J. Ariss, Richard L. Hassell, Sharon Buckner, and Amnon Levi

Root-knot nematode-resistant rootstock lines (designated RKVL for Root-Knot Vegetable Laboratory) derived from wild watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides) were compared with wild tinda (Praecitrullus fistulosus) lines and commercial cucurbit rootstock cultivars for grafting of seedless triploid watermelon ‘Tri-X 313’ (C. lanatus var. lanatus) in a field infested with the southern root-knot nematode (RKN) (Meloidogyne incognita) in Charleston, SC, during 2009 and 2010. In both years, RKN infection was severe in ‘Emphasis’ bottle gourd, ‘Strong Tosa’ hybrid squash, and wild tinda rootstocks with galling of the root system ranging from 86% to 100%. In 2009, the RKVL wild watermelon rootstocks exhibited lower (P < 0.05) percentages of root galling (range 9% to 16%) than non-grafted ‘Tri-X 313’ (41%), ‘Emphasis’, ‘Strong Tosa’, and the wild tinda rootstocks. The grafted wild watermelon rootstock RKVL 318 produced more (P ≤ 0.05) fruit (12 per plot) than all other entries (mean = five per plot), and it produced a heavier (P ≤ 0.05) fruit yield (29.5 kg per plot) than all entries except self-grafted ‘Tri-X 313’ (21.5 kg per plot). In 2010, soil in half of the plots was treated with methyl bromide (50%):chloropicrin (50%) (392 kg·ha–1) before planting. The RKVL wild watermelon rootstocks exhibited resistance to RKN with percentages of root system galled ranging from 11% for RKVL 316 to 56% for RKVL 301 in the untreated control plots. Fruit yields in the untreated plots were 21.9, 25.6, and 19.9 kg/plot for RKVL 301, RKVL 316, and RKVL 318, respectively. Yields were greater (P ≤ 0.05) for the three RKVL rootstocks than for ‘Strong Tosa’ (3.0 kg) and ‘Ojakkyo’ wild watermelon rootstock (2.8 kg) in the untreated plots. Yields of watermelon grafted on ‘Strong Tosa’ were nearly seven times greater (P ≤ 0.05) in the methyl bromide-treated plots than in the untreated plots. In contrast, yields of RKVL 316 and RKVL 318 were similar in both treatments and the yield of RKVL 301 was less (P ≤ 0.05) in the methyl bromide-treated plots than in the untreated plots. The three RKVL wild watermelon rootstock lines exhibited resistance to RKN. RKVL 316 had low root galling and produced the heaviest fruit yield and greatest numbers of fruit of any rootstock evaluated in 2010. The RKVL lines should be useful sources of RKN resistance for rootstocks for grafted watermelon.

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Judy A. Thies, Sharon Buckner, Matthew Horry, Richard Hassell, and Amnon Levi

Southern root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne incognita) are an important re-emerging pest of watermelon in the United States and worldwide. The re-emergence of root-knot nematodes (RKNs) in watermelon and other cucurbits is largely the result of the intensive cultivation of vegetable crops on limited agricultural lands coupled with the loss of methyl bromide for pre-plant soil fumigation, which has been the primary method for control of RKNs and many soilborne diseases of cucurbits and other vegetable crops for several decades. One alternative for managing RKN in watermelon is the use of resistant rootstocks for grafted watermelon. We have developed several RKN-resistant Citrullus lanatus var. citroides lines (designated RKVL for Root-Knot Vegetable Laboratory), which have shown promise as rootstocks for grafted watermelon. In 2011 and 2012, we demonstrated that F1 hybrids derived from our selected RKVL lines exhibited resistance to RKN that was equal to or greater than that of the parental RKVL lines when grown in fields highly infested with M. incognita. In 2011, although significant differences were not observed among rootstocks, the F1 hybrids produced slightly higher yields compared with the selected parental lines. Among the selected parental lines, RKVL 318 produced high yields in both years. In 2011, three of four RKVL parental lines and all four of their F1 hybrids produced greater (P < 0.05) fruit yields than self-grafted ‘Tri-X 313’, ‘Emphasis’ bottle gourd, and ‘Strong Tosa’ squash hybrid. In 2012, three RKVL F1 hybrid lines produced higher yields than the selected parents. Overall, these F1 hybrids were vigorous and should provide useful genetic material for selection and development of robust RKN-resistant C. lanatus var. citroides rootstock lines.