Influence of Pratylenchus penetrans on Plant Growth and Water Relations in Potato


  • J. B. Kotcon
  • R. Loria


Plants of potato (Solanum tuberosum) cultivars Katahdin and Superior were inoculated with 0, 1,500, or 15,000 Pratylenchus penetrans. Transpiration, measured in the greenhouse with a porometer after 56 days of growth, was not significantly different among nematode inoculum levels or between cultivars. The rate of xylem exudation from decapitated root systems of Katahdin plants inoculated with 1,500 or 15,000 P. penetrans and Superior plants inoculated with 15,000 P. penetrans was lower than from noninoculated plants. Root weight of Katahdin and Superior was not affected by P. penetrans inoculum level. Transpiration of plants inoculated with 0, 500, 5,000 or 50,000 P. penetrans was recorded weekly from 14 to 56 days after planting. No consistent effects of nematode inoculum density on transpiration rate were observed. Root hydraulic conductivity was lower in Katahdin plants inoculated with 266 P. penetrans per plant and in Chippewa with 5,081 per plant than in noninoculated plants. Nematodes reduced leaf area of Superior, Chippewa, and Katahdin and root dry weight of Chippewa but had no effect on growth of Hudson, Onaway, or Russet Burbank plants. Assessing nematode effects on root hydraulic conductivity may provide a measure of the tolerance of potato cultivars to nematodes. Key words: host-parasite relationships, leaf water potential, root lesion nematode, root hydraulic conductivity, Solanum tuberosum, potato, transpiration, water relations.