Infection of Narcissus Roots by Aphelenchoides subtenuis

M. Mor, Y. Spiegel

Abstract


The widespread destruction of commercially grown bulbs of Narcissus tazetta papyraceus (Paper White) has been reported in Israel. This phenomenon is usually characterized by a premature yellowing of the foliage, accompanied by root rot and dark, sunken basal plates. This study confirmed thatAphelenchoides subtenuis is the main cause of the basal plate disease of Narcissus. In contrast to other Aphelenchoides species, which feed on stems or leaves, A. subtenuis penetrates Narcissus roots. In our experiments, in winter (6 to 8 weeks after penetration), nematodes laid their eggs in the root parenchymal cells without inducing obvious symptoms on foliage or roots. Toward spring, juveniles became numerous throughout the parenchymal cells of the root cortex. Consequently, the root system collapsed rapidly, at the usual peak of bulb and foliage production. Bulbs of infected plants were small and weighed less than those of uninfected plants, and foliage became necrotic prematurely. At that time, in field conditions, secondary elements like Fusarium penetrate the bulb and cause it to rot, given this syndrome the common name of basal plate disease. To our knowledge, this is the first report of an Aphelenchoides species as a root pathogen. Key words: Aphelenchoides subtenuis, Fusarium, Narcissus, nematode, pathogenicity.

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