Influence of Meloidogyne incognita on the Water Relations of Cotton Grown in Microplots


  • T. L. Kirkpatrick
  • M. W. Van Iersel
  • D. M. Oosterhuis


The effects of Meloidogyne incognita on the growth and water relations of cotton were evaluated in a 2-year field study. Microplots containing methyl bromide-fumigated fine sandy loam soil were infested with the nematode and planted to cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Treatments included addition of nematodes alone, addition of nematodes plus the insecticide-nematicide aldicarb (1.7 kg/ha), and an untreated control. Meloidogyne incognita population densities reached high levels in both treatments where nematodes were included. Root galling, plant height at harvest, and seed cotton yield were decreased by nematode infection. In older plants (89 days after planting [DAP]), leaf transpiration rates and stomatal conductance were reduced, and leaf temperature was increased by nematode infection. Nematode infection did not affect (P = 0.05) leaf water potential in either young or older plants but lowered the osmotic potential. The maximum rate and cumulative amount of water flowing through intact plants during a 24-hour period were lower, on both a whole-plant and per-unit-leaf-area basis, in infected plants than in control plants. Application of aldicarb moderated some of the nematode effects but did not eliminate them. Key words: aldicarb, cotton, Gossypium hirsutum, Meloidogyne incognita, nematicide, nematode, plant water relations, root-knot nematode, stomatal resistance, transpiration, water flux, water potential.