Histopathology of Pea Roots Axenically Infected by Pratylenchus penetrans


  • P. O. Oyekan
  • C. D. Blake
  • J. E. Mitchell


The histological changes in pea roots axenically infected by Pratylenchus penetrans were studied and described. Roots of pea seedlings growing aseptically on the surface of nutrient agar slants were inoculated with axenized nematodes. Six hours after inoculation most of the nematodes introduced were probing the root epidermis, but none had completely entered though a few were observed with their anterior section already in the root. Most of the nematodes penetrated the roots after 12 hr inoculation. From 18 to 24 hr after inoculation the nematodes were mostly in the mid-cortex. Invaded regions of the cortex often showed orange discoloration. As incubation continued, the number of nematodes in these roots increased, and feeding and reproductive activities extended deeper into the cortex. These activities resulted in extensive breakdown of the cortex. No nematodes were observed within the stele of infected roots; however, the endodermis of infected roots stained dark-brown. Gravid female nematodes probed the root endodermis and some endodermal cells appeared to collapse after prolonged probing by the nematode. All stages in the life cycle of the nematode were observed in infected roots; the female to male ratio inside the root was about 5:1. Key Words: Pisum sativum L.