Observations on the Foliar Nematode, Aphelenchoides besseyi, Infecting Tuberose and Rice in India

  • Matiyar R. Khan
  • Zafar A. Handoo
  • Uma Rao
  • S. B. Rao
  • J. S. Prasad


The foliar nematode Aphelenchoides besseyi causes white tip disease in rice (Oryza sativa L.) and floral malady in tuberose (Polianthes tuberosa L.). This nematode is widely distributed in the rice fields of many states of India, including West Bengal (WB), Andhra Pradesh (AP), Madhya Pradesh (MP) and Gujarat (GT). In order to generate information on intraspecific variations of A. besseyi as well as to confirm the identity of the nematode species infecting these important crops, morphological observation was undertaken of A. besseyi isolated from tuberose and rice from WB and rice from AP, MP and GT. The molecular study was only done for rice and tuberose populations from AP and WB. The variations were observed among the populations in the tail, esophageal and anterior regions, including the occurrence of four as well as six lateral lines in the lateral fields. The morphometrics of observed populations showed variations and those could be regarded as a consequence of host-induced or geographical variations. PCR amplification of the rDNA ITS 1 and 2 region of rice (AP) and tuberose (WB) populations of A. besseyi generated one fragment of approximately 830 bp, and the size of the ITS region was 788 bp and 791 bp for tuberose and rice population, respectively. Alignment of the two sequences showed almost 100% similarity. Blast analysis revealed a very high level of similarity of both the Indian strains to a Russian population. The Indian and Russian strains could be differentiated using restriction enzyme Bccl. Host tests revealed that rice (cv. IET 4094), oat (cv. OS-6) and teosinte (cv. TL-1) showed a typical distortion due to the infection of A. besseyi. Five germplasm lines of oat showed no infection of the nematode under field conditions. Local cultivars of onion, maize, chrysanthemum, gladiolus, and Sorghum halepense were also not infected by A. besseyi.
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