Population Dynamics of Dactylella oviparasitica and Heterodera schachtii: Toward a Decision Model for Sugar Beet Planting

Jiue-In Yang, Scott Benecke, Daniel R. Jeske, Fernando S. Rocha, Jennifer Smith Becker, Patricia Timper, J. Ole Becker, James Borneman


A series of experiments were performed to examine the population dynamics of the sugarbeet cyst nematode, Heterodera schachtii, and the nematophagus fungus Dactylella oviparasitica. After two nematode generations, the population densities of H. schachtii were measured in relation to various initial infestation densities of both D. oviparasitica and H. schachtii. In general, higher initial population densities of D. oviparasitica were associated with lower final population densities of H. schachtii. Regression models showed that the initial densities of D. oviparasitica were only significant when predicting the final densities of H. schachtii J2 and eggs as well as fungal egg parasitism, while the initial densities of J2 were significant for all final H. schachtii population density measurements. We also showed that the densities of H. schachtii -associated D. oviparasitica fluctuate greatly, with rRNA gene numbers going from zero in most field-soil-collected cysts to an average of 4.24 x 108 in mature females isolated directly from root surfaces. Finally, phylogenetic analysis of rRNA genes suggested that D. oviparasitica belongs to a clade of nematophagous fungi that includes Arkansas Fungus strain L (ARF-L) and that these fungi are widely distributed. We anticipate that these findings will provide foundational data facilitating the development of more effective decision models for sugar beet planting.

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