Analysis of Crop Losses in Tomato Due to Pratylenchus penetrans

J. W. Potter, Th. H. A. Olthof


The effects of Pratylenchus penetrans upon yields of 'Veebrite' tomato were studied at initial soil population densities (P[subi]) of 360, 2,010, 4,580, and 14,360 nematodes/kg of soil in 20-cm (i.d.) clay-tile microplots. The lowest P[subi] appeared to stimulate fruit production. Higher P[subi]'s suppressed fruit production (total weight of marketable tomatoes and numbers of intermediate- and large-sized fruits), in comparison to control yields, the highest P[subi] resulted in 38% fewer fruits which weighed 44% less. These losses were at least partly due to a delay in fruit ripening, caused by the nematodes, which did not become apparent until the fourth week. Nematode populations in the soil increased at all but the highest P[subi]; final populations were around 7,000/kg of soil. Nematode populations in roots ranged from 230-590/gm of root at the completion of the experiment. Nematode control by fumigation would definitely be warranted at soil population densities of 2,000/kg or higher; with 500-2,000/kg, the decision to fumigate would depend on soil type and economic and hiological factors. Key Words: root-lesion nematodes, populations, Lycopersicon esculentum.

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