Observations on the pathogenicity of pasteuria-penetrans, a parasite of root-knot nematodes
Kerry, Brian R.
Flynn, C. A.
A simple test was used to determine whether or not Pasteuria penetrans spores would attach to 17 species of nematodes. All susceptible individuals had spores attached to their cuticles after 24 h of gentle agitation in suspensions containing 105spores/ml. Spores of P. penetrans from six populations of Meloidogyne only adhered to species of Meloidogyne and they adhered in greatest numbers to the species from which they had been originally isolated. Sonication of spores from infected females increased attachment but the effect was dependent on pH and whether the test was conducted in tap or distilled water. Invasion of tomato roots was reduced by up to 86% when, rather than using healthy juveniles, second-stage juveniles bearing 15 or more spores were added to soil at high densities (1000 or 3000/plant); at low densities (500/plant) invasion was not significantly affected. The rate of development of M. incognita juveniles infected with P. penetrans was slower than that of healthy juveniles. The numbers of second-generation of M. incognita were reduced by 82–93% when juveniles encumbered with 1–15 spores were added to soil instead of those bearing no spores. Pasteuria penetrans populations differed in their aggressiveness and when juveniles encumbered with the same number of spores from two populations were added to soil there were differences in the numbers of females that became infected. The implications of these results for the development of P. penetrans as a biological control agent are discussed.