Evaluation of selected tomato cultivars reaction to infestation with Meloidogyne javanica in greenhouse conditions
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Root-knot nematodes are the most important phytoparasites that decrease tomato production in Kenya. It is important to test susceptibilities of tomato cultivars to root-knot nematodes (RKN) in order to mitigate against losses, by putting in place appropriate control measures. Three week old tomato seedlings of six different tomato cultivars Prostar F1, Kilele F1, Oxly, Cal j, Rambo F1 and Roma VFN F1 were transplanted separately into 500 g plastic pots. The experiment had one treatment for each tomato cultivar where each pot was inoculated with 1000 second stage juveniles of Meloidogyne javanica and a control without any treatment. Each was then replicated four times and arranged in a randomized compete block design in the greenhouse. After nine weeks the experiment was terminated, root and shoot weight, number of flowers, and number of galls per root system were taken. The most susceptible cultivars were Rambo F1, Prostar F1and Roma VFN with gall indices of 4.0, 3.5 and 3.0 respectively while cultivar Oxly was the least susceptible with galling indices of 1.5. The effect on growth due to nematode infestation was determined on the basis of reduction in heights, number of flowers, shoot and root weight. Cultivars, Rambo F1, Roma F1, Prostar F1 and Cal J had high galling indices and greater reductions in dry shoot weight and number of flowers compared to the cultivars Kilele F1 and Oxly which had low galling indices. It is important to use tomato cultivars that are less susceptible to RKN to increase tomato production.