Wheat (Triticum aestivum L.) fields in Zhengzhou, Henan Province that exhibited reduced height and number of tillers were surveyed in 2008, and samples were collected for analyses. Fifteen of thirty-five samples contained a nematode suspected of causing small, brown lesions in roots. Both lateral roots and root hairs were reduced in infected plants. Nematode presence was associated with enlarging lesions and necrotic roots. We also observed lesion nematode infestation in samples with no symptoms in the roots. During the growing season, wheat yield increased by 14% with nematocide treatments in Zhengzhou suburb fields. The morphological and molecular analyses of the nematodes isolated from soil samples established the identity of the species as the lesion nematode, Pratylenchus agilis (2,3). Morphological characteristics that were used for identification included female body, lip annules, tail terminus, number of lines in the lateral field, stylet knobs, stylet length, and vulva location in relation to body length. Females were cylindrical, measured 452 to 811 μm long, and contained two lip annules, a smooth tail terminus, four lateral lines, a vulva at 72.64 to 79.97%, a stylet of 16.20 to 17.55 μm, basal esophageal lobes elongated less than twice the body width, and stylet knobs rounded posteriorly. Males were rare and the spermatheca was empty. Molecular analysis was conducted by amplifying the internal transcribed spacer (ITS) regions ITS1 and 2. Sequence of ITS regions from this population (GenBank Accession No. JQ039330) showed highest sequence homology to P. agilis isolate PagKL5 (GenBank Accession No. FJ71289.1) with the identity of 90%. High variability at species level has been found for Pratylenchus species (1). On the basis of the morphological traits and molecular analyses, the nematodes were identified as P. agilis. To our knowledge, this is the first report of P. agilis parasitizing wheat.
References: (1) F. De Luca et al. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 130:415, 2011. (2) A. M. Golden et al. Plant Dis. Rep. 62:430, 1978. (3) R. V. Rebois et al. J. Nematol. 18:392, 1986.