Pepper Lends Its Nematode Resistance to Double-Cropped Vegetables
The Tomato Magazine
The Charleston Belle pepper developed by the Agricultural
Research Service continues to impress researchers with its ability to
resist major root-knot nematodes afflicting the southern United States.
A recent ARS study both confirmed the effectiveness and heat tolerance
of Charleston Belle's resistance gene and also found that the gene benefits
nematode-susceptible vegetables rotated with the pepper.
In the study, led by plant pathologist Judy Thies of the ARS U.S. Vegetable
Laboratory in Charleston, S.C., Charleston Belle dramatically outperformed
its susceptible parent, Keystone Resistant Giant, in field tests. Not
only did it repel nematodes, it also protected subsequently planted (double-cropped)
susceptible squash and cucumber crops.
The research-described in this month's issue of Plant Disease-showed that
Charleston Belle exhibited minimal root galling from nematode attack.
Charleston Belle also helped the double-cropped cucumber and squash plants
produce bigger yields and heavier fruit than when the two were grown following
the Keystone variety.
The work was conducted at Clemson University's Edisto Research and Education
Center in Blackville, S.C., and at the ARS Crop Protection and Management
Research Unit in Tifton, Ga. ARS is the U.S. Department of Agriculture's
chief scientific research agency.
Released in 1997 by ARS Vegetable Laboratory geneticist Richard Fery,
Charleston Belle peppers get their resistance from the N gene, which was
obtained from a resistant pimiento pepper and placed into Keystone cultivars
to create Charleston Belle. The gene controls resistance to three major
root-knot nematode species: southern (Meloidogyne incognita), peanut (M.
arenaria) and javanese (M. javanica).
The pepper's resistance may aid growers who soon must fight root-knot
nematodes without use of methyl bromide. Plans are in place for the eventual
banning of the product because of its ozone-depleting properties.
Other, independent studies have shown that nematode-resistant vegetable
plants-notably tomatoes-can help shield double-cropped vegetables from
nematode attack. In the ARS study, cucumber yields were 87 percent heavier
and numbers of fruit were 85 percent higher when grown after Charleston
Belle than after Keystone. Squash yields were 55 percent heavier, with
50 percent more fruit.
For more information, contact NewsService@ars.usda.gov; www.ars.usda.gov/news;
phone (301) 504-1638; fax (301) 504-1648.
© 2005 Columbia Publishing
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