Potato cyst nematode
G. rostochiensis is indigenous in Peru and is now widely distributed in potato-growing regions. The major hosts of G. rostochiensis are crops in Solanaceae family, potato, tomato, eggplant and solanaceous weeds.
PCN are microscopic worms that attack plant roots. The eggs hatch in the soil, juvenile nematodes move to, penetrate and feed on the host roots. After mating, fertilized eggs develop inside females that are attached to roots. When the females die, their skin hardens and becomes a protective brown cover (cyst) around the eggs. Each cyst contains hundreds of eggs, and can remain viable for many years in the absence of host plants. One generation normally occurs during one growing season. At flowering or later stages of the host plant, mature females and cysts can be seen by the naked eye as tiny round objects (about 0.5 mm, the size of a pinhead) on the root surface.
Potato cyst nematode is spread by wind, run off water, farm equipment, animals, clothing/foot ware. Symptoms of attack include patches of poor growth, severe stunting, yellowing, wilting and reduced size of potato tubers.
- Plant certified potato seeds
- Avoid planting potatoes for up to 7 years in infested fields.
- Practice crop rotation
- Trap cropping - planting a crop of potato to stimulate the eggs to hatch and then removing the plant before the nematodes can complete their life cycle.