Root-knot nematodes (RKN, Meloidogyne spp.) are polyphagous plant pathogens that cause significant yield losses worldwide. Tomato rootstock cultivars are available for soilborne disease control but none are completely resistant to RKN. Their control success depends on RKN populations and soil temperature and may inadvertently lead to RKN virulence selection and species replacement. The consortium will i) test host adaptation of the four most common RKN species to rootstocks; ii) evaluate apparent competition effects between those species; and iii) assess effects of ascarosides secreted by RKN in potential control mechanisms. The proposed research will advance fundamental and agroecological knowledge on plant-pathogen interactions and could yield novel control options, and be used in predictive models considering climate trends. Ultimately, results will support decision-making by seed companies, nurseries and farmers in selecting and improving rootstocks for protection against RKN.
FEDER-POCI / FCT-OE
University of Coimbra