First report of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne minor on turfgrass in Belgium

N. Viaene, D.B. Wiseborn, G. Karssen

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/Letter to the editorAcademic


The root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne minor, was described during 2004 after it was found on potato roots in a field in the Netherlands and in golf courses in England, Wales, and Ireland (2). Since it is associated with yellow patch disease in turf grass and causes deformation of potato tubers (2), it is important to know whether this organism is already widespread in these and neighboring countries. In addition, it has a relatively wide host range (2,4). A small survey conducted in Belgium was comprised of 10 golf courses geographically spread over the country. In each location, 3 to 9 samples were taken (one per green) consisting of 30 to 40 cores (1.5 × 20 cm deep). Nematodes were extracted from a 200-g subsample (containing roots) from each sample using zonal centrifugation (1). All Meloidogyne spp. were mounted on semipermanent slides and identified morphologically. M. minor was discovered in 3 of 6 samples taken in April 2006 from a golf course in Hasselt (northeastern Belgium). Between 41 and 50 M. minor per 100 g of soil were found together with M. naasi (7 to 20 individuals per 100 g of soil). Occurrence of M. minor together with other Meloidogyne species has been reported in natural and cultivated sites (2,4). Moreover, spores of Pasteuria spp. were clearly visible on 42% of the observed second-stage juveniles of M. minor, but not on those of M. naasi. The infected juveniles had between 2 and 15 spores attached to their cuticles. Additional juveniles were extracted from the soil samples and used for molecular identification by real-time PCR (2), which confirmed the presence of M. minor. There were no symptoms on the grass, consisting of a mixture of Agrostis stolonifera (10%), Festuca rubra (30%), and Poa annua (60%). Grass was sown in Rhine sand and heath land compost used for the construction of the greens in Hasselt. It could be that these soil amendments were infested with M. minor or that M. minor was introduced by other means, e.g., shoes, maintenance machinery, or golf equipment. On the other hand, the detection of M. minor in this small survey indicates that the species may be prevalent in golf courses in the region. The nematode has been found in several golf courses and sport fields in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands, including a golf course at Breda (close to the Belgian border) (3). The survey will be expanded to include grasslands and dune areas, the presumed natural habitat of M. minor.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)908-908
JournalPlant Disease
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2007


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