Sterol Composition and Ecdysteroid Content of Eggs of the Root-knot Nematodes Meloidogyne incognita and M. arenaria


  • David J. Chitwood
  • Michael A. McClure
  • Mark F. Feldlaufer
  • William R. Lusby
  • James E. Oliver


Free and esterified sterols of eggs of the root-knot nematodes Meloidogyne incognita races 2 and 3 and M. arenaria race 1 were isolated and identified by gas-liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. The major sterols of eggs of each race were 24-ethylcholesterol (33.4-38.8% of total sterol), 24-ethylcholestanol (18.3-25.3%), 24-methylcholesterol (8.6-11.7%), 24-methylcholestanol (7.7-12.5%), and cholesterol (4.6-11.6%). Consequently, the major metabolic transformation performed by Meloidogyne females or eggs upon host sterols appeared to be saturation of the sterol nucleus. The free and esterified sterols of the same race did not differ appreciably, except for a slight enrichment of the steryl esters in cholesterol. Although the sterol composition of Meloidogyne eggs differed from that of other life stages of other genera of plant-parasitic nematodes, the three Meloidogyne races could not be distinguished from each other by their egg sterols. Ecdysteroids, compounds with hormonal function in insects, were not detected by radioimmunoassay in the Meloidogyne eggs either as free ecdysteroids or as polar conjugates. Key words: ecdysteroid, mass spectrometry, Meloidogyne arenaria, M. incognita, root-knot nematode, steroid, sterol.