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W. R. Maluf, S. M. Azevedo and V.P. Campos

Heritabilities for resistance to root knot nematodes (Meloidogyne javanica and Meloidogyne incognita races 1, 2, 3, and 4) were studied in a population of 226 sweetpotato clones of diverse origin. For each nematode isolate tested, 128-cell speedling trays were filled with previously inoculated substrate (30000 eggs/1000 mL substrate). Sweetpotato clones suitably tagged and identified were randomly planted in the cells (one plant/cell), with a total of four plants per clone per isolate. Ninety days after inoculation, sweetpotato plants had their roots washed for substrate removal, and treated with 150 mg·L–1 Phloxine B to stain nematode egg masses. The number of egg masses per root was recorded, and plants were accordingly assigned scores from 0 (highly resistant) to 5 (highly susceptible). Broad-sense heritability estimates were 0.87, 0.91, 0.81, 0.95, and 0.93 respectively for resistance to M. javanica and races 1, 2, 3, and 4 of M. incognita. The frequencies of resistant genotypes were higher for M. javanica and lower for M. incognita race 2. Genotypic correlations (rG) among the resistances to the various Meloidogyne isolates utilized were weak, ranging from 0.11 to 0.57, suggesting independent genetic controls. Clones could be selected, however, with high levels of resistance to all nematode isolates tested. (This work was supported by CNPq, CAPES, FAPEMIG, and FAEPE/UFLA.)

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R.L. Fery, P.D. Dukes Sr. and J.A. Thies

The southern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) is a major pest of bell peppers (Capsicum annuum) in the United States. Since none of the leading bell pepper cultivars grown in the U.S. exhibit adequate levels of resistance, a breeding program was initiated to incorporate the N root-knot nematode resistance gene into commercial bell pepper germplasm. A backcross breeding procedure was used. The donor parent of the N gene was the open-pollinated, pimiento pepper cultivar Mississippi Nemaheart, and the recurrent parents were the open-pollinated bell pepper cultivars Keystone Resistant Giant and Yolo Wonder. A large number of homozygous resistant BC6 populations were evaluated in field tests in 1995, and two lines (PA-440, an isoline of `Keystone Resistant Giant', and PA-453, an isoline of `Yolo Wonder') were selected for further field evaluation and seed multiplication in 1996. Results of replicated field and greenhouse tests conducted in 1996 indicate that root-knot nematode resistance has been incorporated successfully in `Keystone Resistant Giant' and `Yolo Wonder' backgrounds.

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Perry E. Nugent and P.D. Dukes

The southern root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita [(Kofoid & White) Chitwood], causes serious economic losses to melon (Cucumis melo L.) production in the United States. The present study was conducted to determine if separable differences in nematode resistance of Cucumis melo could be found at some inoculum level. Five C. melo lines were compared with Cucumis metuliferus Naud. (C701A), a highly resistant species, for root necrosis, galling, egg mass production, and reproduction when inoculated at 0, 500, 1000, 2000, or 5000 nematode eggs per plant. Using these criteria, melon line C880 inoculated with 1000 eggs per plant was highly susceptible, while PI140471, PI 183311, and the cultivars Chilton, Georgia 47, Gulf Coast, Planters Jumbo, and Southland were less susceptible. In greenhouse tests with an inoculum level of 1000 eggs per plant, low levels of resistance were evident. A thorough screening of the available germplasm against M. incognita may identify higher levels of root-knot nematode resistance for incorporation into improved melon cultivars.

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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

Greenhouse experiments determined the inheritance of resistance to the peanut root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne arenaria (Neal) Chitwood race 1] in Capsicum chinense Jacq. germplasm lines PA-353 and PA-426. Evaluation of parental, F1, F2, and backcross populations of the crosses PA-353 × PA-350 and PA-426 × PA-350 (PA-350 is a susceptible cultigen) indicated that resistance in both C. chinense germplasm lines was conditioned by a single dominant gene. Evaluation of the F1 × resistant parent backcross populations in the cytoplasm of their respective resistant and susceptible parents indicated that the cytoplasm of the resistant parent is not needed for full expression of resistance. Allelism tests indicated that the dominant resistance gene in both PA-353 and PA-426 is allelic to a resistance gene in C. annuum L. `Carolina Cayenne'. However, these allelism tests did not demonstrate conclusively that the M. arenaria race 1 resistance gene in C. chinense is the N gene that conditions resistance to the southern root-knot nematode [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood] in C. annuum. The ease and reliability of evaluating plants for resistance to root-knot nematodes and the availability of simply inherited sources of resistance makes breeding for peanut root-knot nematode resistance a viable objective in C. chinense breeding programs.

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Susan L.F. Meyer

Two strains of the fungus Verticillium lecanii (A. Zimmermann) Viégas were studied as potential biocontrol agents for root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood) on cantaloupe (Cucumis melo L.). For the study, pots were filled with soil that had been inoculated with M. incognita (inoculum was applied at two levels: 1000 and 5000 eggs/pot). Each fungus strain was applied individually by pouring an aqueous suspension (made from a wettable granule formulation) into the inoculated soil. Controls received water only. One cantaloupe seedling was then transplanted into each pot. Plants were grown for 55 days in the greenhouse, and then harvested and assessed for root and shoot growth and for nematode egg production. In pots inoculated with 1000 eggs/plant, neither fungus strain affected nematode egg numbers. At the 5000 eggs/plant inoculum level, both strains of the fungus suppressed egg numbers (counts were 28% and 31% less than water controls). Neither strain of V. lecanii affected the number of eggs embedded in root galls; the fungus suppressed nematode population numbers overall solely by affecting the number of eggs located outside of root tissues. Both fungus strains were also autoclaved and then applied to soil, to test for effects of nonviable fungus. In pots inoculated with 5000 eggs, application of one autoclaved strain resulted in a 35% suppression in egg numbers after 55 days, suggesting that the fungus produced a heat-stable substance deleterious to the nematode.

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K. Ukoskit, P.G. Thompson, C.E. Watson Jr. and G.W. Lawrence

The inheritance of resistance to root-knot nematode race 3 [Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood] in sweetpotato [Ipomoea batatas (L.) Lam.] was studied in 71 progenies of the F1 single-cross population produced from the cross of resistant parent `Regal' and susceptible parent `Vardaman'. The distribution frequency of the progenies based on log total nematode number (egg + juvenile counts) was a bimodal distribution with a ratio of ≈4 resistant : 1 susceptible. Based on this phenotypic ratio, the proposed genetic model was duplex polysomic inheritance (RRrrrr = resistant parent and rrrrrr = susceptible parent). Bulk segregant analysis in conjunction with the RAPD technique was used to identify a RAPD marker linked to a root-knot-nematode-resistance gene. Of 760 random decamer primers screened, 9 showed polymorphic bands between the two bulk DNA samples. Primer OPI51500 produced a band in the resistant bulk but not in the susceptible bulk, suggesting a linkage in coupling phase. An estimated recombination fraction of 0.2421 ± 0.057 between the marker and the root-knot-nematode-resistance gene indicated linkage.

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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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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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Judy A. Thies and Richard L. Fery

Expression of the N gene, which confers resistance to southern root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita Kofoid and White) in bell pepper [(Capsicum annuum L. var. annuum (Grossum Group)], is modified at high temperatures (28 °C and 32 °C), but its expression in the heterozygous condition (Nn) has not been documented at moderate or high temperatures. Responses of the near-isogenic bell pepper cultivars, Charleston Belle and Keystone Resistant Giant (differing at the N locus), and the F1 and reciprocal F1 crosses between these cultivars to M. incognita race 3 were determined at 24, 28, and 32 °C in growth chamber experiments. `Keystone Resistant Giant' (nn) was susceptible at 24, 28, and 32 °C. `Charleston Belle' (NN) exhibited high resistance at 24 °C and resistance was partially lost at 28 and 32 °C. However, at 32 °C root gall and egg mass severity indices for `Charleston Belle' were still in the resistant range, and the number of M. incognita eggs per gram fresh root and reproductive index were 97% and 90% less, respectively, than for `Keystone Resistant Giant'. Responses of the F1 and F1 reciprocal hybrid populations to M. incognita were similar to the response of the resistant parent at all temperatures. Root fresh weights and top dry weights indicated that both hybrid populations tolerated M. incognita infections at least as well as `Charleston Belle'. These findings indicate that i) only one of the parental inbred lines needs to be converted to the NN genotype to produce F1 hybrid cultivars with fully functional N-type resistance to M. incognita; and ii) cytoplasmic factors are not involved in expression of N-type resistance and the resistant parental inbred can used to equal advantage as either the paternal or the maternal parent.