Festulolium hybrids are forage grasses used worldwide in temperate climates. They are associated with the fungal endophyte Epichloë uncinata, which aids in nutrient uptake, drought tolerance, and production of metabolites that protect against parasites and herbivores. Epichloë uncinata produces loline alkaloids, which can deter insect pests. Festulolium has not been widely studied for susceptibility to plant-parasitic nematodes, so Festulolium lines, with and without fungal endophytes, were tested in the greenhouse for host status to the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita. All were poor hosts, regardless of line or endophyte status. Pepper seedlings planted into soil following removal of the Festulolium plants were infected by nematodes, likely because of surviving nematodes from the original inoculation combined with some reproduction on Festulolium. Lolines were found in shoots and roots of all endophyte-associated lines, and some types of lolines in roots increased after nematode infection. Methanolic extracts from roots and shoots of a tested Festulolium line did not inhibit egg hatch, but killed nearly a third of second-stage juveniles whether an endophyte was present or not. Further studies would indicate whether these Festulolium lines aid in suppressing field populations of M. incognita.

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