Nature of the root-knot resistance introduced into Lycopersicon esculentum by interspecific crosses with Lycopersicon peruvianum

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute


A study was undertaken to investigate the morphological host-parasite interactions of selected resistant and susceptible lines of tomato to Meloidogyne incognita, M. incognita var. acrita, M. javanica, M. hapla and M. arenaria and to determine the mode of inheritance of nematode resistance and the number of genetic factors controlling resistance to the root-knot nematodes.

Four resistant varieties of tomato were crossed with one susceptible variety. The F₁ populations showed hybrid vigor for height, yield, and fresh weight of roots, stems, and leaves. Resistance to M. javanica, M. incognita, M. incognita var. acrita was dominant and susceptibility was recessive. The F₂ populations segregated in a 3:1 ratio showing resistance is a monofactorial dominant character and controlled by the same gene. The resistant parents, and the F₁ and F₂ populations did not show resistance to M. hapla and M. arenaria.

Anatomical studies showed that there were some slight differences between resistant and susceptible varieties. In resistant varieties a compact layer of cells was formed around the body of the nematode which may have caused the noticeable reduction in nematode development and egg-formation. Giant cells formed in resistant varieties were much smaller and fewer in number than in susceptible varieties. The contrast between these two reactions by the resistant and the susceptible hosts suggests that resistance is related to the cellular response of the host to the parasite. In the root penetration and attraction study it was observed that when 2000 larvae were used as inoculum, they freely penetrated the roots of susceptible seedlings whereas in resistant roots very few larvae entered and most remained half embedded in the roots even at the 96 hour interval after inoculation. When the concentration of the larvae inoculum was increased from 2000 to 8000 per seedling, the larvae entered the roots of resistant seedlings as freely and as rapidly as they entered the roots of susceptible ones, demonstrating that the concentration of inoculum is an important factor in penetration.