Plant-parasitic nematodes are microscopic obligate parasites that feed on plant roots. They can cause significant plant damage ranging from negligible injury to total destruction of plant material. Plant-parasitic nematode infection usurps the nutritional resources of their hosts while evading, suppressing host defenses or opening door for other soil borne pathogens . These animals feed on or in plant roots, disrupting plant root growth and function. Some redirect significant amounts of plant energy to their own growth and support, reducing quantity and quality of yield and often delaying crop maturity. The plants with nematode damaged roots remain under nutrient and water stress even if the artificial fertilizer is applied.The severity of plant injury resulting from nematode activity depends on several factors such as the combination of plant and nematode species, type of farming system, soil types, and culture practices. Worldwide losses as a result of nematode infection has been reported to amount to >$100 billion per year whereas in Pakistan loss are 23% in vegetable crops and over all ca 24%.
Presently ca 0.021 to 0.27 millions acres of land is under tunnels for the cultivation of vegetables by growers in the Punjab. Tunnel provides a protected-conducive environment in which nematode can thrive. The nematodes harmful to horticultural crops planted in tunnels include root knot nematode, Meloidogyne spp, cyst nematodes, Heterodera spp., root lesion nematodes, Pratylenchus spp., stubby root nematodes, Trichodorus spp.,and stunt nematode, Tylenchorhynchus spp.
We recorded severe infection of root knot, a damaging nematode pest of vegetable crops and other plant parasitic nematodes on cucumber crop planted in tunnel at Texilla, Rawalpindi whichpromotedthis research. The study is planned with the following two objectives.
- To investigate the population of plant parasitic nematodes associated with roots and rhizoshphere soil oftunnel crops including tomato, cumber, pepper and chilies planted in the Punjab.
- To manage the pant parasitic nematodes by applying integrated nematode management procedures and principles.