Response of native Southeastern U.S. Legumes to root-knot nematodes

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Identification of forage legumes well adapted to the southeastern United States is complicated by climatic, soil, and biotic factors. Among the pests that impact forage legume persistence are root-knot nematodes (RKNs) (Meloidogyne spp.). We hypothesized that legumes native to the region should have higher levels of resistance to RKN species that are common in this region due to long-term natural selection pressure. The objective of this research was to evaluate the response of 10 southeastern U.S. native legumes to M. arenaria (Neal) Chitwood race 1, M. incognita (Kofoid and White) Chitwood race 3, and M. javanica (Treub) Chitwood. Legumes were grown in Cone-tainers in a greenhouse for 3 wk, inoculated with a given RKN isolate, and after an additional 9 wk were uprooted and evaluated for root galling and nematode egg mass production responses. The level of root galling and egg mass production varied among native legumes, but in general was lower than previously observed on introduced legumes. Desmodium paniculatum (L.) DC., Galactia regularis (L.) Britton et al., and Centrosema virginianum (L.) Benth. varied among the three RKN species in their root galling and egg mass production responses. The accession of D. incanum DC. used was immune to all three RKN isolates, and could be a potential source of RKN resistance genes. The perennial native legumes evaluated all had either a fleshy taproot or a strong rhizome system.

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