Low-Temperature Scanning Electron Microscope Observations of the Meloidogyne incognita Egg Mass: The Gelatinous Matrix and Embryo Development


  • D. Orion
  • W. P. Wergin
  • D. J. Chitwood
  • E. F. Erbe


The root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita was cultured monoxenically on excised tomato roots. Galls and egg masses were observed daily using a light microscope. Two phases were distinguished in the gelatinous matrix of the egg mass: a translucent, amorphous material on the surface of the egg mass and a denser, layered phase in which nematode eggs were deposited. Egg masses were also cryofixed, fractured, and observed as frozen, hydrated specimens on a cold stage in a scanning electron microscope (SEM). In the SEM, the layered phase appeared as a meshwork of fibrils that became more loosely associated as the gelatinous matrix aged: Small pearl-like bodies were observed along the fibers of gelatinous matrix. The egg shell surface and several stages of embryo development, including the one-cell stage, initial cleavages, blastula, gastrula, tadpole stage, elongation, and molt of the first-stage juvenile within the egg shell, were observed and photographed with this technique. The developmental events observed were consistent with those described in other nematode species with different techniques. Key words: development, egg, egg mass, embryogenesis, gelatinous matrix, low-temperature scanning electron microscopy, Meloidogyne incognita, root gall, nematode, root-knot nematode, scanning electron microscopy, ultrastructure.