Belonolaimus longicaudatus: An Emerging Pathogen of Peanut in Florida.

Kanan Kutsuwa, D. W. Dickson, J. A. Brito, A. Drew, A. Jeyaprakash

Abstract


Sting nematode (Belonolaimus longicaudatus) is an economically important ectoparasitic nematode that is highly pathogenic on a wide range of agricultural crops in sandy soils of the southeastern United States. Although this species is commonly found in Florida in hardwood forests and as a soilborne pathogen on turfgrasses and numerous agronomic and horticultural crops, it has not been reported infecting peanut. In the summers of 2012 and 2013, sting nematode was found infecting three different peanut cultivars being grown on two separate peanut farms in Levy County, FL. The damage consisted of large irregular patches of stunted, chlorotic plants at both farms. The root systems were severely abbreviated and there were numerous punctate-like isolated lesions observed on pegs and pods of infected plants. Sting nematodes were extracted from soil collected around the roots of diseased peanut over the course of the peanut season at both farm sites. Peanut yield from one of these nematode-infested sites was 64% less than that observed in areas free from sting nematodes. The morphological characters of the nematode populations in these fields were congruous with those of the original and other published descriptions of B. longicaudatus. Moreover, the molecular analyses based on the sequences of D2/D3 expansion fragments of 28S rRNA and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) rRNA genes from the nematodes further collaborates the identification of the sting nematode isolates as B. longicaudatus. The sequences were deposited in GenBank (accession no. KF963097, KF963098 for ITS, and KF96399, KF963100 for D2-D3). The results of the phylogenetic analysis using the sequences of these isolates from peanut compared with those of other isolates from Florida suggests that the sting nematode from both peanut farms are genetically close to B. longicaudatus populations occurring in the state. Peanut plants inoculated with both nematode isolates showed punctate-like isolated lesions on pods and pegs, and an abbreviation of their root systems, whereas those symptoms were not observed on noninoculated peanut plants. To our knowledge, this is the first report of large-scale field damage caused by sting nematode infecting peanut grown under field conditions in Florida.

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