The threat of root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) in Africa: a review
Kariuki, G. M.
Onkendi, E. M.
Moleleki, L. N.
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Meloidogyne species pose a significant threat to crop production in Africa due to the losses they cause on a wide range of agricultural crops. The direct and indirect damage caused by various Meloidogyne species results in delayed maturity, toppling, reduced yields and quality of crop produce, high costs of production and therefore loss of income. In addition, emergence of resistance-breaking Meloidogyne species has partly rendered various pest management programmes already in place ineffective therefore putting food security of the continent at risk. It is likely that more losses may be experienced in the future due to the on-going withdrawal of nematicides. To adequately address the threat of Meloidogyne species in Africa, an accurate assessment and understanding of the species present, genetic diversity, population structure, parasitism mechanisms and how each of these factors contribute to the overall threat posed by Meloidogyne species is important. Thus, the ability to accurately characterise and identify Meloidogyne species is crucial if we are to effectively tackle the threat of Meloidogyne species to crop production in Africa. In this review, we discuss the use of traditional versus molecular-based identification methods of Meloidogyne species and how accurate identification using a polyphasic approach can negate the eminent threat of root knot nematodes in crop production. The potential threat to Africa posed by highly damaging and resistance-breaking populations of „emerging‟ Meloidogyne species is also examined