Open Access

Maternal Stress Reduces the Susceptibility of Root-Knot Nematodes to Pasteuria Penetrans


Pasteuria penetrans is an obligate parasite of root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.). Endospores of P. penetrans attach to the cuticle of second-stage juveniles (J2) and complete their life cycle within the nematode female body. Infected females will be filled with spores and will be sterilized. Studies with Daphnia magna and its parasite Pasteuria ramosa showed that a poor maternal environment can lead to offspring resistant to P. ramosa. Therefore, we hypothesized that Meloidogyne arenaria females raised under a stressed environment would produce offspring that were more resistant to P. penetrans. Females were exposed to a stressed environment created by crowding and low-food supply, or a non-stressed environment and their offspring evaluated for endospore attachment and infection by P. penetrans. No difference in spore attachment was observed between the two treatments. However, infection rate of P. penetrans in the stressed treatment was significantly lower than that in the non-stressed treatment (8 vs 18%). Mothers raised under stressed conditions appeared to produce more resistant offspring than did mothers raised under favorable conditions. Under stressful conditions, M. arenaria mothers may provide their progeny with enhanced survival traits. In the field, when nematode populations are not managed, they often reach the carrying capacity of their host plant by the end of the season. This study suggests that the next generation of inoculum may be more resistant to infection by P. penetrans.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other