Golden Nematode

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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Golden Nematode


(Heterodera rostochiensis), a roundworm of the family Heteroderidae. Body length, about 1 mm.

The golden nematode is a parasite of the roots (less often, of the tubers) of potatoes, tomatoes, and, occasionally, deadly nightshade. It is found in Europe, Asia, North and South America, Africa, and Australia. It is also found in several republics of the USSR. Development from the larval stage to maturity takes place in the tissues of the roots or tuber of the host plant. The transparent wormlike male crawls out of the root into the soil; the anterior end of the female remains attached to the root or tuber, its swollen body covered by a thick cuticle, protruding outside the plant. The male dies after fertilization. The female forms more than 1,000 eggs; these remain inside her body, which turns into a cyst after her death. In the spring the larvae emerge from the cyst and embed themselves in the plant roots.

The golden nematode retards the development of the host plant, significantly reducing yield; when infestation is extreme the potato plants form either no tubers at all or from one to three tiny tubers. A kilogram of soil in heavily infested fields may contain as many as 2, 500 cysts of golden nematode. Counter-measures include quarantine, planting resistant varieties of potatoes, crop rotation and removal of the infested roots and tubers from the fields, and disinfection of the soil with chloropi-crin, Carbathion, or Nemagon.


Kir’yanova, E. S., and E. L. KralP. Paraziticheskie nematody rastenii i mery bor’by s nimi, vols. 1–. Leningrad, 1969–71.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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Since breeders have yet to develop potatoes that resist pale cyst nematodes, it's important to be able to distinguish the pale cyst from the golden nematode. "The pale cyst nematode is genetically more diverse than the golden nematode, and that makes it harder to come up with resistant germplasm in potato breeding programs," Wang says.
"If you only have one cyst, you can still use our method to confirm whether you have golden nematode or pale cyst nematode, and our method is relatively easy to perform," Wang says.
The system is one of several new technologies developed to distinguish the golden nematode from the pale cyst nematode.
"The first 40 years of golden nematode control depended on fumigating infested fields with as much as 90 gallons per acre of chemicals," Brodie points out.
The watershed event in the war against the golden nematode was the 1954 discovery of a single gene whose presence could gird potatoes against the pest's attacks.
Fortunately for American potato farmers, Brodie and the Cornell researchers had, for the past decade, kept the fire going under a small project on pinpointing potato lines that would also resist exotic races of golden nematode - races other than their longstanding enemy, Ro1.
So we had begun developing different germplasm here and sending it to Peru for testing, since they have other races of the golden nematode there," Brodie explains.
"We had some germplasm that was really good at resisting several races of the golden nematode, and we thought we'd simply make it available to other countries that already had those races," says Brodie.
- as well as ARS potato breeding programs at Beltsville, Maryland, and Aberdeen, Idaho - in search of fresh weapons against the golden nematode.
"We consider the golden nematode the most serious pest threatening the U.S.