Progression of Root-knot Nematode Symptoms and Infection on Resistant and Susceptible Cottons

R. L. Shepherd, M. G. Huck


Progressive development in cotton root morphology of resistant A623 and susceptible M-8 cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.) lines following infection by the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita was studied in glass front boxes. Symptom development and radicle growth were observed; degree of galling, gall and egg mass diameter, and number of eggs per egg mass were recorded; and root segments were examined histologically. Small cracks caused by M. incognita appeared in the root epidermis and cortex soon after the cotyledons expanded on day 4. The cracks were longer and wider and extended through the cortex when the first true leaf became visible at day 8. Galls had formed on taproots by this time. When exposed to M. incognita, A623 had faster radicle growth (22%), fewer and smaller cracks in the root epidermis and cortex, fewer and smaller root galls, one-twelfth as many egg masses, and one-fourth as many eggs per egg mass as M-8. Root cracking, galling, and giant cell formation are major effects of M. incognita that may predispose cotton roots to pathogens resulting in synergistic interactions and diseases. Key words: giant cell, Gossypium hirsutum, Meloidogyne incognita, multinucleated cell, resistance, root cracking, root galling, root-knot nematode, seedling disease, southern root-knot nematode.

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