Exposure Time to Lethal Temperatures for <I>Meloidogyne incognita</I> Suppression and Its Implication for Soil Solarization


  • K.-H. Wang
  • R. McSorley


Capsicum annuum, bell pepper, soil temperature, heat units, Meloidogyne incognita, solarization, root-knot nematodes


Meloidogyne incognita eggs or J2 were incubated in test tubes containing sand:peat mix and immersed in a water bath heated to 38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43, 44 and 45øC for a series of time intervals. Controls were maintained at 22øC. Nematodes surviving or hatching were collected from Baermann trays after three weeks of incubation. Regression analyses between percent survival or egg hatch and hours of heat treatment were performed for each temperature. Complete suppression of egg hatch required 389.8, 164.5, 32.9, 19.7 and 13.1 hours at 38, 39, 40, 41 and 42øC, respectively. Complete killing of J2 required 47.9, 46.2, 17.5 and 13.8 hours at 39, 40, 41 and 42øC, respectively. J2 were not completely killed at 38øC within 40 hours of treatment, but were killed within one hour at 44 and 45øC. Effect of temperature on nematode killing is not determined by heat units. Oscillating temperature between cool and warm did not interfere with the nematode suppressive effect by the heat treatment. Six-week solarization in the field during the summers of 2003 and 2004 in Florida accumulated heat exposure times in the top 15 cm of soil that surpassed levels required to kill M. incognita as determined in the water bath experiments. Although near zero M. incognita were detected right after solarization, the nematode population densities increased after a cycle of a susceptible pepper crop. Therefore, future research should address failure of solarization to kill nematodes in the deeper soil layers.