Ultrastructure Changes Induced by Stem Nematodes in Hypocotyl Tissue of Alfalfa


  • D. C. N. Chang
  • W. F. Campbell
  • G. D. Griffin


Scarified seeds of Medicago sativa L. 'Ranger' and 'Lahontan' alfalfa were allowed to imbibe water for 36 hr and then were inoculated with stem nematodes, Ditylenchus dipsaci Kühn. Seedlings were grown in sterilized Provo sand at 20 C and hypocotyl sections harvested at 1, 3 and 7 days. Evidence from electron micrographs indicated that cells of noninfected control plants contained normally developing chloroplasts bearing stroma, thylakoids, starch grains and plastoglobuli. The cytoplasm contained a nucleus, endoplasmic reticulum, vacuoles, mitochondria, ribosomes and dictyosomes. No morphological symptoms of nematode infection were observed in infected plants of either Ranger of Lahontan alfalfa 1 day after inoculation. Electron micrographs of tissue from the infected plants, however, indicated more osmiophilic bodies (lipid bodies) per cell than did the noninfected control, with more lipid bodies present in Ranger than in Lahontan. Three and 7 days after planting, swollen hypocotyls could be seen; the degree of swelling was greater in Ranger than in Lahontan. Electron micrographs of infected tissues indicated that both cultivars were undergoing the same kind of damage. Injured organelles were endoplasmic reticulum, chloroplasts and the nucleus. Histochemical staining indicated no changes in the middle lamellae. Key Words: fine structure, host-parasite interactions.