Optimising initial population density, growth time and nitrogen nutrition for assessing resistance of wheat cultivars to root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus thornei)

Abstract

Pratylenchus thornei is a major pathogen of wheat in Australia. Two glasshouse experiments with four wheat cultivars that had different final populations (Pf) of P. thornei in the field were used to optimise conditions for assessing resistance. With different initial populations (Pi) ranging up to 5250 P. thornei/kg soil, Pf of P. thornei increased to 16 weeks after sowing, and then decreased at 20 weeks in some cultivar x Pi combinations. The population dynamics of P. thornei up to 16 weeks were best described by a modified exponential equation P f (t) = aP i e kt where P f (t) is the final population density at time t, P i is the initial population density, a is the proportion of P i that initiates population development, and k is the intrinsic rate of increase of the population. The cultivar GS50a had very low k values at Pi of 5250 and 1050 indicating its resistance, Suneca and Potam had high k values indicating susceptibility, whereas intolerant Gatcher had a low value at the higher Pi and a high value at the lower Pi. Nitrate fertiliser increased plant growth and Pf values of susceptible cultivars, but in unplanted soil it decreased Pf. Nematicide (aldicarb 5 mg/kg soil) killed P. thornei more effectively in planted than in unplanted soil and increased plant growth particularly in the presence of N fertiliser. In both experiments, the wheat cultivars Suneca and Potam were more susceptible than the cultivar GS50a reflecting field results. The method chosen to discriminate wheat cultivars was to assess Pf after growth for 16 weeks in soil with Pi ~1050–5250 P. thornei/kg soil and fertilised with 200 mg NO3–N/kg soil.

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Acknowledgments

We thank the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC) for funding and Kerry Bell for advice on statistical analyses.

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Correspondence to J. P. Thompson.

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Thompson, J.P., Clewett, T.G. & O’Reilly, M.M. Optimising initial population density, growth time and nitrogen nutrition for assessing resistance of wheat cultivars to root-lesion nematode (Pratylenchus thornei). Australasian Plant Pathol. 44, 133–147 (2015). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13313-015-0347-6

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Keywords

  • Nematode population density
  • Growing time
  • Nitrogen nutrition
  • Vertosols
  • Modified exponential growth curve