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Does the Presence of Detached Root Border Cells of Zea mays Alter the Activity of the Pathogenic Nematode Meloidogyne incognita?

September 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  9
Pages  1,111 - 1,114

S. Rodger , A. G. Bengough , B. S. Griffiths , V. Stubbs , and I. M. Young

First and fifth authors: Scottish Informatics Mathematics Biology and Statistics (SIMBIOS) Centre, School of Science and Engineering, University of Abertay Dundee, Bell Street, Dundee, DD1 1HG, Scotland, U.K.; and second, third, and fourth authors: Scottish Crop Research Institute, Dundee, DD2 5DA, Scotland, U.K.

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Accepted for publication 25 March 2003.

The root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita is a major pathogen of a range of important crops. Currently, control is typically achieved by the use of nematicides. However, recent work suggests that manipulating the ability of roots to slough off border cells, which then act as a decoy to the nematode, can significantly decrease damage to the roots. We investigated the attractiveness of border cells to M. incognita and the response of the nematode to border cells in close proximity. We found very limited attraction, in that nematodes did not preferentially alter direction to move toward the border cells, but a large and significant increase in nematode speed was observed once they were in the immediate vicinity of border cells. We discuss the results in the context of physical and biological mechanisms in relation to the control of pathogenic nematodes.

Additional keywords: habitat, kinesis, maize, taxis.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society