Pathogenicity of Two Populations of Meloidogyne hapla Chitwood on Alfalfa and Sainfoin


  • D. S. Wofford
  • F. A. Gray
  • J. W. Eckert


The pathogenicity of two populations of the northern root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne hapla Chitwood, population 1 (P1) from alfalfa and population 2 (P2) from sainfoin, was studied on both alfalfa and sainfoin for 25 weeks. Alfalfa and sainfoin plants inoculated with P2 had significantly (P = 0.05) higher mortality than plants inoculated with P1. Plant stands over all weeks for the uninoculated control, P1, and P2 were 90.5, 78.5, and 64.0% for alfalfa and 84.5, 51.0, and 41.0% for sainfoin, respectively. The increased virulence of P2 was again shown when means of plant species were combined (inoculation × week of count interaction). Plants inoculated with P2 had significantly higher mortality than either those inoculated with P1 or the uninoculated control beginning at week 7 and continuing through week 25. Plant stands over species at 25 weeks for the uninoculated control, P1, and P2 were 82.5, 29.0, and 18.0%, respectively. Sainfoin was significantly more susceptible to either population than alfalfa (plant species × week of count interaction). Separation between species first occurred after week 7 and continued until week 25. Percentages of plants remaining for alfalfa and sainfoin were 61.5 and 25.0 after 25 weeks. Significantly higher reproduction occurred in the alfalfa plants remaining after 25 weeks in P2 than in P1. Mean number of eggs per root system were 60,371 for P1 and 104,438 for P2, a difference of 42%. The results of this study indicate a need for breeders to adequately sample nematode populations present in the intended area of cultivar use and to design screening procedures to account for population pathogenicity variability. Key words: alfalfa, Medicago sativa, Meloidogyne hapla, northern root-knot nematode, Onobrychis viciifolia, pathogenic race, sainfoin.