Interaction of Vesicular-Arbuscular Mycorrhizae and Cultivars of Alfalfa Susceptible and Resistant to Meloidogyne hapla


  • Gordon S. Grandison
  • Karen M. Cooper


The interaction between vesicular-arbuscular mycorrhizal (VAM) fungi and the root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne hapla) was investigated using both nematode-susceptible (Grasslands Wairau) and nematode-resistant (Nevada Synthetic XX) cultivars of alfalfa (Medicago sativa) at four levels of applied phosphate. Mycorrhizal inoculation improved plant growth and reduced nematode numbers and adult development in roots in dually infected cultures of the susceptible cultivar. The tolerance of plants to nematode infection and development when preinfected with mycorrhizal fungi was no greater than when they were inoculated with nematodes and mycorrhizal fungi simultaneously. Growth of plants of the resistant cultivar was unaffected by nematode inoculation but was improved by mycorrhizal inoculation. Numbers of nematode juveniles were lower in the roots of the resistant than of the susceptible cultivar and were further reduced by mycorrhizal inoculation, although no adult nematodes developed in any resistant cultivar treatment. Inoculation of alfalfa with VAM fungi increased the tolerance and resistance of a cultivar susceptible to M. hapla and improved the resistance of a resistant cultivar. Key words: vesicular-arbuscular (VA) mycorrhizae, root-knot nematode, mycorrhizal-nematode interactions, alfalfa, Meloidogyne hapla, Medicago sativa.