Two glasshouse experiments were conducted to assess the influence of three inoculation methods on Scutellonema bradys multiplication on yam (Dioscorea spp.) and on growth and production of the crop. Three separate cultivars of yam were used in the study: two Dioscorea rotundata cultivars (Ala and Kpouna) and one Dioscorea cayenensis (Tabane). One-month-old plants were each inoculated with approximately 1000 S. bradys juveniles and adults. The inoculation methods included inoculation with chopped infected pieces of yam peel (about 0.5 × 0.3 cm2), chopped and blended infected yam peel and a water suspension (200 ml) of extracted nematodes compared with a S. bradys-free yam tuber peel control. The two experiments were harvested at 9 and 4 months after planting. Nematode population densities at harvest were significantly different (P ≤ 0.05) among inoculation methods and among yam cultivars. Higher nematode population densities were recorded on tubers from plants inoculated with unblended peel, followed by those inoculated with blended peel. Inoculation with nematode suspensions yielded the lowest nematode population densities. Inoculation with S. bradys did not affect the vine circumference and the number of tubers. Weights of tubers differed among inoculation methods for two of the three yam cultivars tested (P ≤ 0.05).
The pathogenicity of five plant-parasitic nematode species, Radopholus similis, Pratylenchus coffeae, Helicotylenchus multicinctus, Hoplolaimus pararobustus and Meloidogyne spp., commonly recorded from banana and plantain in West and Central Africa, was assessed on plantain (Musa spp., AAB genome) cv. Agbagba in Nigeria. The pest status of H. pararobustus was demonstrated for the first time in addition to H. multicinctus, while the importance of P. coffeae and R. similis was further confirmed. In addition, the study further demonstrated the contribution of nematodes to weakened pseudostems (stems) and stem snapping during periods of low water availability, in the absence of weevil damage. Through a series of experiments, the nematode damage potential was evaluated in 20 l pots, 70 l microplots (halved oil drums) and a field experiment over four crop cycles. In pots only a combination of four species (without H. pararobustus) led to greater root necrosis than the non-inoculated control, while R. similis reduced root mass. In microplots most crop growth parameters were similar across treatments, except root necrosis, which was higher for all nematode treatments than on control plants and more severe on P. coffeae roots than for other nematode species. In the field trial heavy storms disrupted data collection. Plant stem snapping, however, was greater for all nematode treatments compared with controls. Nematode damage indices such as feeder root health and root necrosis were higher in all nematode treatments and consistently so for R. similis and P. coffeae over the first two cropping cycles. Mean bunch weight of harvested plants was lower for all nematode treatments than controls; between 33.3% and 50.8%, even for first cycle mother plants, and consistently lower across crop cycles.
Despite being the single largest cassava-producing country, yields in Nigeria remain consistently poor and among the lowest. Regionally, yields are also particularly low across Africa. Pests and pathogens, including plant-parasitic nematodes, play an important role in this current yield deficit. African countries are not only faced with the problem of food security but also that of nutritional deficiency, due to limited micronutrients in the diet. In this study, six biofortified cultivars were evaluated for their response to inoculation with approximately 30 000 root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) eggs in 30 l pots in Nigeria. All cassava cultivars proved highly susceptible to M. incognita infection after 6 months, with nematode reproduction factor ranging from 7.0 to 44.8. Galling was common on feeder roots and gall index scores were recorded between 4 to 5 (on a scale of 1-5 where 5 ⩽ 100 galls). Meloidogyne incognita infection significantly reduced plant height, stem girth, fresh plant mass, fresh storage root number and storage root weight. Percentage yield loss of between 41.8-88.4% was recorded in M. incognita-infected plants compared with non-infected controls. Although M. incognita reduced storage root weight, it did not necessarily affect the nutritional quality (total carotenoid) or dry weight percentage of the biofortified cassava cultivars. Total carotenoid and dry weight contents of the control cultivar were similar to some of the biofortified cultivars. The high susceptibility of the biofortified cassava cultivars to M. incognita infection indicates that substantial yield losses are likely being experienced by farmers, as this nematode pest is prevalent across sub-Saharan Africa and the tropics.
Within sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), although nematodes are viewed among the most important threats to crop production and food security, the presence of trained nematologists working within this discipline has traditionally been viewed as scarce. The few research studies concerning this subject address this topic from a country or sub-regional perspective and generally portray nematology as ‘insufficient’. Over the past two decades, a few initiatives have been instrumental in building greater nematology expertise. For the first time a structured survey was undertaken, involving interviews with individuals from SSA that were (or currently are) involved in nematology training programmes, research, national extension services or in African universities. This paper provides evidence of the positive impact of various initiatives and shows an increase in the number of available nematology positions, together with high rates of graduates that return home to occupy qualified positions. Our findings will help researchers, policy makers and donors to identify areas requiring support to increase the promotion of nematology in SSA and to make an impact for end-users.
Watermelon is increasingly produced and consumed in Nigeria and sub-Saharan Africa. However, limited information exists regarding nematode pests and beneficial/free-living nematodes associated with the crop. The present study recorded the abundance and diversity of free-living nematodes from 50 watermelon fields across south-west Nigeria during 2016/2017. Of the 30 genera identified from soil samples, Cephalobus, followed by Rhabditis, Aphelenchus and Aporcelaimus, were predominant. Variation in nematode community structures across the 50 fields was apparent for mean maturity indices, metabolic footprints, feeding-type composition and coloniser-persister (c-p) structure. Faunal analyses characterised 52% of the fields as having stable and enriched soil food webs, which is beneficial for crop production. Significant correlations were apparent between some nematode genera and selected soil properties, and rainfall. This study provides the first information of free-living nematodes associated with watermelon from sub-Saharan Africa, offering novel and baseline information on their abundance and diversity in south-west Nigeria.
Little information is available for nematode pests associated with watermelon in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). This study recorded the abundance and prevalence of plant-parasitic nematodes from 25 localities across south-west Nigeria during 2016/2017. Of the 11 nematode species identified, those belonging to Meloidogyne spp. were predominant according to Prominence Values, followed by Helicotylenchus dihystera, Pratylenchus zeae and Scutellonema bradys. Morphological and molecular analyses revealed the identity of four species of root-knot nematodes: Meloidogyne enterolobii, M. incognita, M. javanica and M. arenaria (in descending order of abundance and occurrence). Meloidogyne arenaria is reported for the first time from south-west Nigeria, while S. bradys and Xiphinema nigeriense are first reports for watermelon. Significant associations were observed between the frequency of occurrence of the predominant nematode species and soil properties as well as rainfall. Results provide baseline information on the nematode pest occurrence on watermelon in Nigeria and in a wider context for SSA.
The yam nematode, Scutellonema bradys, which can cause dry rot disease of yam (Dioscorea spp.), was recorded for the first time from Costa Rica in four species of yam occurring in the Atlantic and north regions. Morphometric measurements from two populations from each region using ten female and 11 male characters corresponded with previous descriptions of this species. Canonical discriminant analysis of the female morphometric data separated the populations by region, whereas no separation by region was evident using the male data. Analysis of DNA sequences from the ITS region indicated that populations from Costa Rica were monophyletic with S. bradys from West Africa and clearly distinct from other Scutellonema species. No genetic separation by geographic region or Dioscorea species host was observed between Costa Rica populations. Species-specific primers were developed from the ITS region and supported the identity of 17 populations from 15 locations in Costa Rica as S. bradys: 14 populations from D. alata (greater or water yam) and one each from D. trifida (white yampee), D. cayenensis (yellow yam) and D. rotundata (white yam). Yam production in Costa Rica began in the Atlantic region, where the yam nematode was likely introduced from the Caribbean, progressively spreading to other locations through the use of infected vegetative planting material.
The effects of nematode infection and mulching on plantain cv. Agbagba (Musa spp., AAB-group, false horn) yield and plantation longevity were examined in a field experiment at the High Rainfall Station of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) at Onne in southeastern Nigeria. The 2nd, 3rd and 4th crop cycles (1st, 2nd and 3rd ratoon, respectively) following the plant crop cycle (mother crop) were examined in nematode inoculated or non-inoculated and mulched or non-mulched treatments. Nematodes (Radopholus similis, Helicotylenchus multicinctus and, to a lesser extent, Helicotylenchus dihystera, Hoplolaimus pararobustus and Meloidogyne spp.) were inoculated at planting of the mother plant, but were also present in relatively high population densities in the non-inoculated treatments at harvest of the 1st crop cycle. Plants inoculated with nematodes failed to reach harvest and neither did plants in the non-inoculated non-mulched treatments in any ratoon. Only non-inoculated mulched plants reached harvest, producing 0.85, 1.22 and 0.2 Mg ha−1, respectively in the 1st, 2nd and 3rd ratoon, taking toppled, broken and dead plants into consideration. Mulched plants were larger, had more suckers, survived longer and had healthier root systems compared with non-mulched plants. Damage to roots was greater in the inoculated plants compared with the non-inoculated plants for the 1st and 2nd ratoons but not for the 3rd ratoon. Radopholus similis was most strongly associated with root damage (percentage root necrosis and dead roots), although H. multicinctus population densities were also positively correlated with percentage root necrosis. At flowering of the 1st ratoon, 71% of the inoculated non-mulched plants were dead compared with only 1% of the non-inoculated mulched plants. Helicotylenchus multicinctus remained the most abundant nematode throughout the experiment. Together with R. similis, it comprised over 95% of the plant-parasitic nematode population.
The yam nematode, Scutellonema bradys, is a major threat to yam (Dioscorea spp.) production across yam-growing regions. In West Africa, this species cohabits with many morphologically similar congeners and, consequently, its accurate diagnosis is essential for control and for monitoring its movement. In the present study, 46 Scutellonema populations collected from yam rhizosphere and yam tubers in different agro-ecological zones in Ghana and Nigeria were characterised by their morphological features and by sequencing of the D2-D3 region of the 28S rDNA gene and the mitochondrial COI genes. Molecular phylogeny, molecular species delimitation and morphology revealed S. bradys, S. cavenessi, S. clathricaudatum and three undescribed species from yam rhizosphere. Only S. bradys was identified from yam tuber tissue, however. For barcoding and identifying Scutellonema spp., the most suitable marker used was the COI gene. Additionally, 99 new Scutellonema sequences were generated using populations obtained also from banana, carrot, maize and tomato, including the first for S. paralabiatum and S. clathricaudatum, enabling the development of a dichotomous key for identification of Scutellonema spp. The implications of these results are discussed.