Europe, UK, Ireland

British researchers look into the impact of increasing temperatures on potato cyst nematodes

Researchers A. M. Kaczmarek, M. Back and Vivian Blok in the UK recently published a paper in the journal Plant Pathology in which they document their work regarding the impact of increasing temperatures on the population dynamics of the soil dwelling potato pest, Globodera pallida – a persistent and economically important pest of potatoes, very much so in the UK.

The research team found that the reproductive factor (final population/initial population) and length of life cycle of PCN populations were temperature sensitive.

“Pot experiments performed over 4 months allowed us to compare the effect on the development of G. pallida in two temperature regimes: at an average temperature comparable to current field conditions (14.3 °C) and at an average temperature above current field conditions (17.3 °C),” the researchers report.

“A larger second generation of juveniles was observed at 17.3 °C compared to 14.3 °C. Multiplication of G. pallida at field sites in Shropshire and East Lothian (average soil temperatures of 15.5 and 14.1 °C, respectively, during potato cropping) was also examined. A quantitative PCR assay and visual examination of roots were used to monitor the dynamics of the G. pallida populations in both field sites at 4 weekly intervals.”

Four cultivars, Desirée, Cara, Maris Piper, and Estima, were grown with and without nematicide treatments.

The researchers found that nematicide treatments suppressed population increases at both sites. “Females were observed on the roots of Cara and Desirée at the end of the growing season in Shropshire, but not at East Lothian, and are likely to represent a second generation,” the research team reports.

More on Wiley Online Library here. Corresponding author Vivian Blok at the Hutton Institute in Scotland can be reached at

The picture featured above shows G. pallida on Kerrs Pink, taken at Clay Holes, Carnoustie, Scotland in 2001. Courtesy of Eric Anderson, Senior Agronomist, Scottish Agronomy Ltd, Arlary Farm, Milnathort, Kinrosshire, United Kingdom