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Characterization of Watermelon (Citrullus lanatus var. citroides) Germplasm for Resistance to Root-knot Nematodes

Thies, J.A., Levi, A.
HortScience 2007 v.42 no.7 pp. 1530
Citrullus lanatus var. citroides, watermelons, Meloidogyne incognita, Meloidogyne arenaria, root-knot nematodes, plant genetic resources, germplasm, pest resistance, genetic resistance, Citrullus colocynthis, Citrullus lanatus var. lanatus, wild relatives, genetic variation, genotype
Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) cause extensive damage to watermelon Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. lanatus, and resistance to root-knot nematodes has not been identified in any watermelon cultivar. Twenty-six U.S. Plant Introductions (PIs) of Citrullus lanatus (Thunb.) Matsum. & Nakai var. citroides (L. H. Bailey) Mansf., one PI of C. lanatus var. lanatus, and three PIs of Citrullus colocynthis (L.) Schrad. were evaluated in greenhouse tests for resistances to Meloidogyne incognita (Kofoid & White) Chitwood race 3 and Meloidogyne arenaria (Neal) Chitwood race 2. Twenty-three of the C. lanatus var. citroides PIs and the C. lanatus var. lanatus PIs were previously identified as moderately resistant to M. arenaria race 1. Overall, the C. lanatus var. citroides PIs exhibited low to moderate resistance, and the C. lanatus var. lanatus and C. colocynthis PIs were susceptible to both M. incognita race 3 and M. arenaria race 2. The C. lanatus var. citroides PI 482303 was the most resistant PI with gall index (GI) = 2.88 and reproductive index (RI) = 0.34 for M. incognita race 3 and GI = 3.46 and RI = 0.38 for M. arenaria race 2 (1 = no galling; 5 = 26% to 38% root system galled; 9 = 81% to 100% root system galled). These results demonstrate that there is significant genetic variability within C. lanatus var. citroides for reaction to M. incognita and M. arenaria race 2, and several C. lanatus var. citroides PIs may provide sources of resistance to root-knot nematodes.