Recommendations from Euphresco projects
The following research project has recently been carried out in the framework of Euphresco (network for phytosanitary research coordination and funding - hosted by EPPO). A report presenting the main objectives and results of this project, as well as recommendations made can be viewed on the Euphresco website.
Global warming and distribution of root-knot nematode species of the tropical group (MeloTrop)
Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) represent a relatively small but economically important group of obligate plant parasites. Damage and yield losses caused by these nematodes are greater in tropical regions than in temperate regions because of more favourable environmental conditions for pest colonization, development, reproduction and dispersal. However, climate change can influence the spread of these pests and their dispersal across temperate regions. The project aimed to organise surveys in the partnering countries in order to map the occurrence and distribution of tropical Meloidogyne species, to validate biochemical and molecular diagnostic tests and to study the survival ability of Meloidogyne species in open field conditions in continental and Mediterranean/Atlantic climatic conditions.
During monitoring activities, the most commonly found species was M. incognita, recorded at 47 locations. The second most common species was M. arenaria (21 locations), followed by M. javanica (11 locations), M. hispanica (7 locations), M. luci (6 locations) and M. enterolobii (2 locations). Mixed populations were also recorded at 13 locations. Tropical Meloidogyne species in open fields were predominantly distributed in areas with Mediterranean climatic conditions. However, some nematodes were located in areas with semi-continental climatic conditions with milder winter conditions.
Several diagnostic methods were used to identify Meloidogyne species, including isozyme phenotyping and DNA barcoding. Isozyme phenotyping was found to be the most efficient method for the identification of Meloidogyne species.
The survival ability of M. incognita and M. arenaria under continental climatic conditions was assessed in Slovenia. Both species survived and maintained their infectivity in semi-field conditions during three consecutive winters. Modelling results allowed the consortium to conclude that M. arenaria and M. incognita represent a threat for Europe, in particular when considering future climate change scenarios.
The research consortium recommended that monitoring programs are strengthened in countries with Mediterranean and semi-continental climatic conditions, that new diagnostic tests are developed, and that staff from national reference laboratories are trained concerning existing and new diagnostic methods.
Duration of the project: 2017-04-01 to 2020-03-31
Authors: Širca, Saša; Folcher, Laurent; Inácio, Maria Lurdes; Karssen, Gerrit; Bačić, Jasmina; Conceição, Isabel.