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[nafex] FW: New Pecan Pest Identified

From: "ARS News Service" <isnv@ars-grin.gov>
To: "ARS News List" <ars-news@ars-grin.gov>
Subject: New Pecan Pest Identified 
Date: Tue, Mar 19, 2002, 7:06 AM

New Pecan Pest Identified


ARS News Service
Agricultural Research Service, USDA
Alfredo Flores, (301) 504-1627, aflores@ars.usda.gov
March 19, 2002

A team of scientists from the Agricultural Research Service Nematology
Laboratory in Beltsville, Md., and New Mexico State University (NMSU) has
found that root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne partityla, was the cause of a
recent decline in yields from mature pecan trees in New Mexico. The decline
occurred despite normal fertilization and irrigation practices.

This finding of M. partityla is significant because it is the first report
of its presence in New Mexico and only the second report of it in the
Western Hemisphere, according to ARS nematologist Zafar A. Handoo. He
examined a collection of fresh pecan roots sent by NMSU scientists in
October 2000 and made the identification.

The first discovery of M. partityla in the United States was in Texas in
1996. Host range tests conducted there revealed that the pest prefers to
feed on hickory, pecan and walnut trees. Georgia and Arizona have reported
cases of the nematode as well since the New Mexico outbreak. M. partityla
was first discovered in South Africa in 1986.

Nematodes are microscopic worms that attack plant roots. Root- knot
nematodes are particularly dangerous because they are root parasites that
can seriously damage many economic plants and crops worldwide. Although not
likely to kill pecan trees, M. partityla will debilitate them and lower
their productivity.

New Mexico is the second largest pecan-growing state in the United States,
producing 32 million pounds in 2000, and is home to more than 30,000 acres
of pecan trees. To help avoid future threats to the state's $50 million
pecan industry, scientists are now evaluating control measures and educating
growers to recognize M. partityla and prevent its spread.

More information can be found in the March issue of Agricultural Research,
on the World Wide Web at:

ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's chief scientific research

This item is one of the news releases and story leads that ARS Information
distributes on weekdays to fax and e-mail subscribers. You can also get the
latest ARS news on the World Wide Web at
* Feedback and questions to ARS News Service via e-mail:
* ARS Information Staff, 5601 Sunnyside Ave., Room 1-2251, Beltsville MD
20705-5128, (301) 504-1617, fax 504-1648.

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