Aggressiveness and Damage Potential of Central American and Caribbean Populations of Radopholus spp. in Banana


  • D. H. Marin
  • K. R. Barker
  • D. T. Kaplan
  • T. B. Sutton
  • C. H. Opperman


banana, burrowing nematode, host resistance, musa spp., nematode, radopholus, reproductive fitness


Monoxenic cultures of burrowing nematode populations extracted from banana roots from Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, and Costa Rica were established on carrot discs. Cultures of Radopholus spp. were also obtained from Florida, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Ivory Coast. The aggressiveness (defined as reproductive fitness and root necrosis) of these populations was evaluated by inoculating banana plants (Musa AAA, cv. Grande Naine) with 200 nematodes/plant. Banana plants produced by tissue culture were grown in 0.4-liter styrofoam cups, containing a 1:1 mix of a coarse and a fine sand, at ca. 27 ºC and 80% RH. Banana plants were acclimated and allowed to grow for 4 weeks prior to inoculation. Plant height, fresh shoot and root weights, root necrosis, and nematode population densities were determined 8 weeks after inoculation. Burrowing-nematode populations varied in aggressiveness, and their reproductive fitness was generally related to damage reported in the field. Plant height and fresh shoot and root weight did not reflect damage caused by nematodes under our experimental conditions. Necrosis of primary roots was closely related to the reproductive fitness of the nematode populations. Variation in aggressiveness among nematode populations followed a similar trend in the two susceptible hosts tested, Grande Naine and Pisang mas. All nematode populations had a low reproductive factor (Rf <=2.5) in the resistant host except for the Ivory Coast population which had a moderate reproductive factor (Rf <= 5) on Pisang Jari Buaya. This is the first report of a burrowing nematode population parasitizing this important source of resistance to R. similis.