Relationships between Soil and Levels of Meloidogyne incognita and Tobacco Yield and Quality


  • K. R. Barker
  • W. W. Weeks


A 2-year study with six soils and four levels of Meloidogyne incognita in microplots was designed to determine the effects of these parameters on nematode activity and tobacco yield and quality. Key components under study were affected by soil, nematode level, and season (year-cultivar). In 1980, low initial nematode numbers (1,250) enhanced tobacco yield in Cecil clay loam, but caused slight to moderate yield losses in the other soils. Yield losses to M. incognita were generally greatest in sandy and muck soils. In 1980, regression analyses of the independent parameters Pi - clay-sand vs. yield gave an R² of 0.40. Examples of other coefficients of determination for yield vs. selected factors were root-necrosis index, 0.40; root-gall index, 0.18; root-gall index-cation exchange capacity (CEC), 0.34; root-necrosis index-CEC, 0.56; and root-necrosis index-sand-soil acidity-calcium, 0.62. In contrast, the R² for Pi alone versus yield in 1981 was 0.84. Soil also affected nematode reproduction with the greatest increases occurring in the sandy soils. In both years, low nematode numbers enhanced the synthesis of sugar in tobacco, whereas leaves from all other nematode treatments had low sugar levels. A low nicotine content was associated with nematode infection. Tobacco from sandy soils had a higher nicotine content than tobacco from clay soils. Key words: crop loss, damage threshold, Meloidogyne incognita, Nicotiana tabacum, physiology, population dynamics, root-knot, soil texture, tobacco quality.