A Role of the Gelatinous Matrix in the Resistance of Root-Knot Nematode (Meloidogyne spp.) Eggs to Microorganisms


  • Daniel Orion
  • Giora Kritzman
  • Susan L. F. Meyer
  • Eric F. Erbe
  • David J. Chitwood


biological control, burkholderia cepacia, egg, electron microscopy, gelatinous matrix, meloidogyne, mortierella sp., nematode, root-knot nematode


The survival of eggs of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica was studied in a series of experiments comparing the infectivity of egg masses (EM) to that of separated eggs (SE). The EM or SE were placed in the centers of pots containing citrus orchard soil and incubated for 24 hours, 10 days, or 20 days. Following each incubation time, 10-day-old tomato plants were planted in each pot, and 3 to 4 weeks later the plants were harvested and the galling indices determined. In the EM treatments, galling indices of ca. 4.0 to 5.0 were recorded after all three incubation periods; in the SE treatments, the infectivity gradually declined to trace amounts by 20 days. Incubating EM and SE for 2 weeks in four different soil types showed the same pattern in all the soil types: EM caused heavy infection of the test plants while the infection rate from the SE was extremely low. Incubating EM and SE in soil disinfested with formaldehyde resulted in comparable galling indices in most treatments. In petri dish experiments, 100 mg of natural soil was spread at the perimeter of a Phytagel surface and EM or SE of M. incognita were placed in the center. Light microscopy revealed that within 5 to 10 days the SE were attacked by a broad spectrum of microorganisms and were obliterated while the eggs within the EM remained intact. Separated eggs placed within sections of gelatinous matrix (GM) were not attacked by the soil microorganisms. When selected microbes were placed on Phytagel surfaces with EM of M. incognita, electron microscopy demonstrated that at least some microbes colonized the GM. As the major difference between the EM and the SE was the presence of the GM, the GM may serve as a barrier to the invasion of some microorganisms.