Counting Nematodes with a Microplate Reader

A. F. Robinson, J. A. Veech, C. M. Heald


The feasibility of counting plant-parasitic nematodes in aqueous suspensions by measuring light transmittance through aqueous suspensions with an ELISA microplate reader was explored. Absorbance readings for eggs or vermiform stages of three species were linearly related (R² 0.99) to concentrations between 0 and 10,000 nematodes/ml. Coefficients of variation ranged from 12-23%, depending on the species and developmental stage used. The method, therefore, was at least as accurate as direct counts of nematodes in aliquots on a microscope and more than 100 times as fast. The method should have direct application in research programs on plant resistance to nematodes, nematode population dynamics, and nematode behavior. Key words: counting, Ditylenchus phyllobius, enumeration, Meloidogyne incognita, nematode, Rotylenchulus reniformis, technique.

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