• Meloidogne incognita (nematode) parasitism of Lycopersicon esculentum (tomato) plants : Ethylene action in susceptible and resistant host responses

      Akitt, David Baxter.; Department of Biological Sciences (Brock University, 1978-07-09)
      Involvement of ethylene in the etiology of tomato plants (Lycopersicon esculentum) infected with the root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) was investigated. Endogenous root concentrations of ethylene were not significantly different in uninfected resistant var. Anahu and susceptible var. Vendor plants. Exposure of resistant plants to high doses of infectious nematode larvae did not affect root ethylene concentrations during the subsequent 30 day period. The possibility that ethylene may be involved in the mechanism of resistance is therefore not supported by these experiments. In no experiments did ethylene concentrations in roots of susceptible plants increase significantly subsequent to ~ incognita infestation. This result is not consistent with the hypothesis in the literature which suggests that increased ethylene production accompanies gall formation. Growth of susceptible tomato plants was affected by ~ incognita infestation such that root weights increased (due to galling), stem heights decreased and top weights increased. The possibility that alterations in stem growth resulted from increased production of 'stress' ethylene is discussed. Growth of resistant plants was unaffected by exposure to high doses of ~ incognita and galls were never detected on the roots of these plants. Root ethane concentrations generally varied in parallel with root ethylene concentrations although ethane concentrations were without exception greater. In 4 of 6 experiments conducted ethane/ethylene ratios increased significantly with time. These results are discussed in the light of published data on the relationship between ethane and ethylene synthesis. The term infested is used throughout this thesis in reference to plants whose root systems had been exposed to nematodes and does not distinguish between the susceptible and resistant response.