Research

The use of Brassica species for the Management of Potato Cyst Nematode Infestations of Potatoes

Abstract

The viability of potato cyst nematode (PCN) populations (Globodera pallida) was evaluated in three field experiments using Brassica juncea, Raphanus sativus and Eruca sativa. Experiment-1 was summer-cultivated and autumn-incorporation whilst Experiment-2 investigated overwintering brassica cover crops followed by spring-incorporation. Experiment-3 evaluated metconazole application on biomass/glucosinolate production by B. juncea and R. sativus and their effects on PCN pre- and post-incorporation. The brassicas were analysed for their glucosinolate contents before incorporation. Following the cover crops, the field plots were planted with susceptible potatoes to evaluate the biofumigation effects on PCN reproduction. In Experiment-1, PCN population post-potato harvest was reduced (P = 0.03) in B. juncea treated plots, while R. sativus prevented further multiplication, but in Experiment-2, there were no significant effects on PCN reproduction. In Experiment-3, B. juncea or R. sativus either untreated or treated with metconazole reduced PCN population. Glucosinolate concentrations varied significantly between the different plant regions and cultivation seasons. Metconazole application increased sinigrin concentration in B. juncea tissues. Glucosinolate concentrations correlated positively with PCN mortality for summer cultivated brassicas. Our results demonstrated that Brassica juncea and Raphanus sativus can play an important role in PCN management, particularly if included in an integrated pest management scheme. Key words: Biofumigation; Brassica species; glucosinolate; isothiocyanate; viability; potato cyst nematodes; Globodera pallida.

Description

Introduction: Potato cyst nematodes (PCN), Globodera pallida and G. rostochiensis are the most economically important nematode problems to the UK potato industry. They inflict an annual cost of approximately £50 million on UK potato farmers on an annual basis. Breeding for resistance since 1950’s has produced a few commercially acceptable varieties with partial resistance to G. pallida. However, cultivars with partial resistance to G. pallida rarely offer good market value. Effective control of G. pallida is an essential requirement to maintain the competitiveness of UK potato production. During the past three decades, farmers in the UK have relied heavily on granular nematicides and soil fumigants to control PCN. These fumigants, although effective, pose a variety of negative side effects, which has led to certain products being de-registered (e.g. 1-3 dichloropropene) or having restricted use. One potential approach is biofumigation which is increasingly being viewed as an effective method to control soil-borne pest and disease. Biofumigation refers to the suppression of soil-borne plant pests and pathogens by biocidal compounds released when plant residues are hydrolyzed.

Materials and methods: This study investigated the control of field populations of G. pallida following growing and incorporation of different Brassica crops during different seasons of the year. Experiment-1 was based on summer cultivation followed by autumn incorporation of the tested Brassica species, whereas, Experiment-2 investigated overwintering the Brassica species followed by incorporation in the following spring. Experiment-3 evaluated the effect of metconazole on biomass production by the Brassica species when cultivated during the summer season, and Experiment-4 evaluated five brassicas for their winter hardiness. The brassicas were analysed for their glucosinolate contents before incorporation. Following the cover crops, the field plots were planted with susceptible potatoes to evaluate the biofumigation effects on PCN reproduction.

Results: In Experiment-1, PCN population post-potato harvest was reduced (P = 0.03) in B. juncea treated plots, while R. sativus prevented further multiplication, but in Experiment-2, there were no significant effects on PCN reproduction. In Experiment-3, B. juncea or R. sativus either untreated or treated with metconazole reduced PCN population.  Glucosinolate concentrations varied significantly between the different plant regions and cultivation seasons. Metconazole application increased sinigrin concentration in B. juncea tissues. Glucosinolate concentrations correlated positively with PCN mortality for summer cultivated brassicas. In Experiment-4, all brassicas survived the mild winter of 2013 but were unable to produce sufficient crop biomass to effectively control G. pallida in field.

Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that Brassica juncea and Raphanus sativus can play an important role in PCN management, particularly if included in an integrated pest management scheme.

Further Studies:

  • Glasshouse experiments to monitor partial biofumigation effects (effect on PCN during the growth and developmental stage of the crop)
  • In vitro experiments to determine effective doses for the control of PCN.

Acknowledgments: This work is co-funded by Harper Adams University, Agrovista Ltd, Barworth Agriculture Ltd and Plant Solution Ltd.

Harper Adams University CERC staff and PML staff are acknowledge. 

Funding Body

Harper Adams, Agrovista Ltd, Barworth Agriculture Ltd and Plant Solutions

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