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Judy A. Thies and Amnon Levi

Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) cause extensive damage to watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. lanatus], and resistance to root-knot nematodes has not been identified in any watermelon cultivar. Twenty-six U.S. Plant Introductions (PIs) of Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. citroides (L. H. Bailey) Mansf., one PI of C. lanatus var. lanatus, and three PIs of Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad. were evaluated in greenhouse tests for resistances to Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood race 3 and Meloidogyne arenaria (Neal) Chitwood race 2. Twenty-three of the C. lanatus var. citroides PIs and the C. lanatus var. lanatus PIs were previously identified as moderately resistant to M. arenaria race 1. Overall, the C. lanatus var. citroides PIs exhibited low to moderate resistance, and the C. lanatus var. lanatus and C. colocynthis PIs were susceptible to both M. incognita race 3 and M. arenaria race 2. The C. lanatus var. citroides PI 482303 was the most resistant PI with gall index (GI) = 2.88 and reproductive index (RI) = 0.34 for M. incognita race 3 and GI = 3.46 and RI = 0.38 for M. arenaria race 2 (1 = no galling; 5 = 26% to 38% root system galled; 9 = 81% to 100% root system galled). These results demonstrate that there is significant genetic variability within C. lanatus var. citroides for reaction to M. incognita and M. arenaria race 2, and several C. lanatus var. citroides PIs may provide sources of resistance to root-knot nematodes.

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Judy A. Thies and Amnon Levi

Root-knot nematodes [Meloidogyne arenaria (Neal) Chitwood, Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood, and Meloidogyne javanica (Treub) Chitwood] are serious pests of watermelon [Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. lanatus] in the southern United States and worldwide. Watermelon cultivars with resistance to any of these nematode pests are not available. Therefore, we evaluated all accessions of Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad.(21) and Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. citroides (L.H. Bailey) Mansf.(88), and about 10% of C. lanatus var. lanatus (156) accessions from the U.S. Plant Introduction (PI) Citrullus germplasm collection for resistance to M. arenaria race 1 in greenhouse tests. Only one C. lanatus var. lanatus accession exhibited very low resistance [root gall index (GI) = 4.9] and 155 C. lanatus var. lanatus accessions were susceptible (GI ranged from 5.0 to 9.0, where 1 = no galls and 9 = ≥81% root system covered with galls). All C. colocynthis accessions were highly susceptible (GI range = 8.5 to 9.0). However, 20 of 88 C. lanatus var. citroides accessions were moderately resistant with a GI range of 3.1 to 4.0; overall GI range for the C. lanatus var. citroides accessions was 3.1 to 9.0. Resistance to M. arenaria race 1 identified in the C. lanatus var. citroides accessions was confirmed on a subset of accessions in a replicated greenhouse test. The results of our evaluations demonstrated that there is significant genetic variability within the U.S. PI Citrullus germplasm collection for resistance to M. arenaria race 1 and also identified C. lanatus var. citroides accessions as potential sources of resistance.

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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

Greenhouse tests were conducted to compare the levels of resistance to the southern root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood] exhibited by recently released Capsicum chinense Jacq. Scotch Bonnet-type germplasm lines PA-353, PA-398, and PA-426 to the levels of resistance exhibited by C. annuum L. `Carolina Cayenne' and `Mississippi Nemaheart'; to determine the inheritance of the resistance in C. chinense germplasm line PA-426; and to determine the genetic relationship between the resistances exhibited by C. chinense germplasm line PA-426 and C. annuum `Carolina Cayenne'. The results of a replicated test indicated that the level of resistances exhibited by the resistant released C. chinense germplasm lines is equal to the level of resistances exhibited by the resistant C. annuum cultivars. Evaluation of parental, F1, F2, and backcross populations of the cross PA-426 × PA-350 (a susceptible Habanero-type C. chinense cultigen) indicated that the resistance in C. chinense is conditioned by a single dominant gene. The results of an allelism test indicated that this dominant gene is allelic to the dominant gene that conditions much of the southern root-knot nematode resistance in the C. annuum `Carolina Cayenne'. The ease and reliability of evaluating plants for resistance to root-knot nematode and the availability of a simply inherited source of outstanding resistance makes breeding for southern root-knot nematode resistance a viable objective in C. chinense breeding programs.

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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

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.

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Richard L. Fery and Judy A. Thies