Nematodes are microscopic worms capable of causing serious damage to sugarcane crops. The root lesion nematode (RLN) and the root-knot nematode are the two species that cause the most damage to Sugarcane. (RKN). High populations of other nematodes, such as dagger and spiral nematodes, can also harm Sugarcane.
PPNs are present in every cane field, with at least five different species likely to be found. The species and abundance of nematodes will vary based on soil type, climate, and crop history. RKN is more prevalent in infertile soils, whereas lesion nematodes can be found in all sugarcane-growing regions. Nematode management is essential for protecting sugarcane plantations. The use of resistant cultivars, crop rotation, and soil amendments are included.
Nematode Management in Sugarcane
Types of Nematodes that Affect Sugarcane
Several species of nematodes can be found in the soil of sugarcane fields. Still, only four are specifically destructive to sugarcane crops. Among these are the lesion nematode, the lance nematode, the root-knot nematode, and the reniform nematode.
- Pratylenchus coffeae, the lesion nematode, is a migratory endoparasite that deposits eggs in both soil and roots. This nematode harms Sugarcane by feeding on the root system, causing plant injury and yield reduction.
- Hoplolaimus indicus, the lance nematode, is an ectoparasite resistant to high temperatures and arid soil conditions. It is readily detectable through soil sampling and can cause substantial harm to sugarcane crops.
- Meloidogyne spp. is an obligatory endoparasite that completes most of its life cycle within the roots of its host. This nematode can cause significant damage to sugarcane crops because its eggs and second-stage larvae can persist in the soil.
- Rotylenchulus reniformis, a species of reniform nematode, is a semi-endoparasitic species that invades the root cortex, establishes a persistent feeding site, and becomes immobile. This nematode can cause substantial root system damage to sugarcane crops, reducing yields and impacting overall plant health.
Life Cycle of Nematode
Nematode life cycles consist of eggs, larvae, and adults. Adult female worms deposit their eggs in the host. The eggs hatch into L1 larvae, which endure four molts before maturing into juvenile adults. (L2-L4). The final molt releases the larval adult, which develops into the adult worm. The cycle is completed when adult males and females mate and the female produces eggs.
Factors Favoring Growth/ Causes of Nematode Spread in the Field
High soil moisture, warm temperatures, poor drainage, low soil fertility, and susceptible plant hosts can promote nematode development and spread in the field. Nematode proliferation can also be influenced by overcrowding and poor management.
Damage Symptoms of Nematode in Sugarcane
- One of the most prevalent symptoms is leaf yellowing, which initially appears as streaks and then extends to the entire leaf.
- This chlorosis is frequently accompanied by leaf margin and tip drying, especially in immature and ratoon crops.
- In extreme instances, chlorosis can cause crop stunting and decrease the number and size of internodes.
- The roots of infected plants are short and few. In addition, the affected area may be pale green to white.
- Nematode control is essential to sugarcane farming because these symptoms can significantly reduce crop yields.