Suppressive effects of Bursaphelenchus mucronatus on pine wilt disease development and mortality of B. xylophilus-inoculated pine seedlings

In: Nematology
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  • 1 Laboratory of Forest Zoology, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo, Yayoi, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8657, Japan

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Bursaphelenchus xylophilus causes pine wilt disease in Pinus trees whereas B. mucronatus has no or little virulence to the trees. Interspecific crossing experiments conducted so far suggest reproductive interference between the two nematode species. Theory predicts that one of the two competing species populations quickly displaces the other through reproductive interference in a frequency-dependent manner. Thus, it is anticipated that B. mucronatus suppresses the virulence of B. xylophilus against pine trees when B. mucronatus heavily outnumber B. xylophilus. To determine the suppressive effects of B. mucronatus, the two nematode species were inoculated simultaneously on 30 3-year-old Pinus thunbergii seedlings at three combinations of different numbers, and B. xylophilus alone was inoculated on 30 other seedlings at the corresponding numbers in early August. Seedlings were observed at intervals of 4 or 6 weeks and two stem sections were sampled from each seedling to determine the density and species composition of nematode populations after death or in December. Inoculation of B. mucronatus significantly retarded the speed of foliage discolouration from 0.170 ± 0.024 week−1 to 0.061 ± 0.017 week−1 and significantly prolonged the survival time of seedlings. Bursaphelenchus mucronatus significantly reduced the nematode density from 1799.7 ± 305.0 to 521.0 ± 148.4 (g dried seedling stem)−1. Analysis of rDNA genotype showed 1846 B xylophilus, no B. mucronatus and one hybrid.

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