Esterase Polymorphism in Meloidogyne konaensis


  • B. S. Sipes
  • D. P. Schmitt
  • K. Xu
  • M. Serracin


coffee, esterase polymorphism, genetic variation, host range, meloidogyne konaensis, parasitism, root-knot nematode, selection


The continual detection of a slow (I1) esterase band in greenhouse cultures of Meloidogyne konaensis isolated from the field led to a hypothesis that the nematode may be polymorphic for esterase. A survey of coffee fields demonstrated at least four esterase phenotypes were present in Meloidogyne recovered. An F1 phenotype predominated (60% of the females), but an I1 phenotype was also common (30% of samples). A series of greenhouse and laboratory experiments were undertaken to understand this polymorphism. Esterase phenotype was not affected by development at 22ordm;, 25ordm;, or 33 ordm;C on tomato. Two different esterase phenotypes (I1 and F1-I1) were detected after M. konaensis was grown on tomato for several generations, even in single-egg-mass lines derived from an F1 female. Three isolates of M. konaensis differing in esterase phenotype (F1, I1, and F1-I1) did not differ morphologically but did differ in their parasitic ability. Only the F1 isolate parasitized Coffea arabica. The F1-I1 isolate had greater reproduction on Lycopersicon esculentum and Cucumis sativus than either the I1 or F1 isolate. The mechanism of the development of the polymorphism has yet to be determined. However, the F1 esterase may be useful as a marker for future research on parasitism of coffee by M. konaensis.