Image Analysis of the Growth of Globodera pallida and Meloidogyne incognita on Transgenic Tomato Roots Expressing Cystatins


  • H. J. Atkinson
  • P. E. Urwin
  • M. C. Clarke
  • M. J. McPherson


An approach based on image analysis that enables rapid collection and analysis of nematode size and shape during growth is reported. This technique has been applied to assess Meloidogyne incognita and Globodera pallida during their development over 35 and 42 days, respectively, on transgenic tomato roots expressing the wild-type rice cystatin Oc-I or an engineered variant, Oc-IAD86. Morphometric values were established that subdivided enlarged saccate females from other life stages. Analysis of this data subset indicates that the size of females and the frequency with which they parasitize roots expressing a cystatin are reduced. Results also demonstrate that cystatins can influence the growth of G. pallida prior to the adult stage. Similar image analysis procedures should be generally applicable to the study of host status or erivironmental factors that influence growth rates of plant-parasitic nematodes. Key words: Globodera pallida, image analysis, Meloidogyne incognita, nematode growth, potato cyst nematode, root-knot nematode, transgenic roots.