Effect of Meloidogyne incognita on Plant Nutrient Concentration and Its Influence on the Physiology of Beans


  • H. Melakeberhan
  • J. M. Webster
  • R. C. Brooke
  • J. M. D'Auria
  • M. Cackette


Phaseolus vulgaris plants, 3, 8, 11, and 13 days old, were inoculated with 0, 2,000, 4,000, or 8,000 second-stage Meloidogyne incognita larvae and maintained under controlled conditions. The photosynthetic rate and the shoot and root concentration of K, Ca, Mn, Fe, Cu, and Zn were determined by destructive assay at 1-27-day intervals and by nondestructive assay of leaves, stems, and roots at 27 or 28 days after inoculation. In the destructive assay, the concentration of the elements in the plant tissues did not change until 1 week after inoculation. Thereafter, the trend was mostly decreasing for shoot K and Fe and increasing in the root, whereas Ca had the opposite trend in the shoots. Manganese, Cu, and Fe showed variable trends. Generally, the concentration of K and Mn increased, whereas Ca and Fe decreased, with duration of infection in all treatments. Zinc and Cu decreased in the highest nematode treatments. The overall elemental content generally decreased with level of infection from 1 week after inoculation. Photosynthetic rate based on shoot K concentration significantly decreased with level of infection. In most of the nondestructive assays, the concentrations of shoot K, Zn, and Mn decreased, whereas Ca increased with increasing nematode treatment. One of the first effects of the nematode on host physiology appears to be a change in concentration of nutrient elements in the host plant. Key words: Phaseolus vulgaris, photosynthesis, root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita.