Hatching Experiments on the Potato Eelworm (Heterodera schachtii)


DURING the course of our research on the potato eelworm (H. schachtii) we have established the fact that the root excretion of potatoes growing in recently sterilised soil does not possess the power of inducing hatching of eelworm eggs in the normal manner. In other words, we have found that when eelworm cysts are added to sterilised soil, the hatching of the eggs in these cysts does not commence for a considerable time afterwards although potatoes are growing in the soil. The period elapsing before hatching commences is greatest in very recently sterilised soil and gradually becomes less according as the interval between sterilisation and planting time is increased. This has been proved in the laboratory by hatching experiments (with large numbers of cysts) in which leachings from soil sterilised at different times and growing potatoes have been used. The effect of this delayed hatching is showing up very markedly in pot experiments. From our research it is obvious that, where hatching is delayed, the plants get a chance of making some growth and establishing a good root system before attack by the newly hatched larvæ. The onset of eelworm attack only when a good root system has been established does not seem to have much effect on the further growth or productivity of the plants.

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CARROLL, J., McMAHON, E. Hatching Experiments on the Potato Eelworm (Heterodera schachtii). Nature 134, 66 (1934). https://doi.org/10.1038/134066b0

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