Carla M. Maleita, IMAR–CMA, Department of Life Sciences, University of Coimbra (UC), 3004-517 Coimbra, Portugal;
Maria José Simões and
Conceição Egas, BIOCANT—Technology Transfer Center, Advanced Sequencing Services, 3060-197 Cantanhede, Portugal;
Rosane H. C. Curtis, Plant Pathology and Microbiology Department, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, AL5 2JQ, UK; and
Isabel M. de O. Abrantes, IMAR–CMA, UC, Portugal
Meloidogyne hispanica infects many economically important crops worldwide. The accurate identification of this pathogen is essential for the establishment of efficient and sustainable integrated pest management programs. Portuguese M. hispanica isolates were studied by biometrical, biochemical, and molecular characteristics. Biometrical characteristics of M. hispanica females, males, and second-stage juveniles were similar to the original description. Biochemical studies revealed a unique enzyme pattern (Hi4) for M. hispanica esterases that allowed for species differentiation. Molecular analysis of the mtDNA region from COII and 16S rRNA genes resulted in amplification products (1,800 bp) similar to M. hispanica, M. ethiopica, and M. javanica, and the described HinfI was unable to discriminate M. hispanica from the other two species. Analysis of the mtDNA sequences revealed altered nucleotides among the isolates that created new restriction sites for AluI and DraIII. The resulting restriction patterns successfully discriminated between the three species, providing a new tool for Meloidogyne identification. Finally, the phylogenetic relationship between M. hispanica and several Meloidogyne spp. sequences was analyzed using mtDNA, confirming the divergence between meiotic and mitotic species and revealing the proximity of M. hispanica to closely related species. Based on the studies conducted, the application of isozyme or polymerase chain reaction restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis would be a useful and efficient methodology for M. hispanica identification.