Esterase and Malate Dehydrogenase Phenotypes in Portuguese Populations of Meloidogyne Species


  • Celia S. Pais
  • Isabel M. de O. Abrantes


Nonspecific esterases and malate dehydrogenases of 1-5 females from 40 root-knot nematode populations from Portugal were analyzed by electrophoresis in 0.4-mm-thick polyacrylamide gels. Fourteen major bands of esterase activity were detected, corresponding to 10 distinct phenotypes, Meloidogyne javanica and M. hapla had distinct species-specific phenotypes. Two phenotypes occurred in M. arenaria. The most variability was found among M. incognita populations. Of the remaining two phenotypes, one was associated with M. hispanica and the other belonged to a new species. Three malate dehydrogenase phenotypes were discerned on the basis of particular combinations of the eight main bands of activity found. As previously found, esterases were more useful than malate dehydrogenases in identification of the major Meloidogyne species. The host plant had no effect on the nematode esterase or malate dehydrogenase phenotypes. Key words: electrophoresis, esterase, isozyme, malate dehydrogenase, Meloidogyne, root-knot nematode, taxonomy.