Morphological adjustment in free-living Steinernema feltiae infective juveniles to increasing concentration of Nemafric-BL phytonematicide

Autoři: Phatu W. Mashela aff001;  Ebrahim Shokoohi aff001;  Kgabo M. Pofu aff001
Působiště autorů: University of Limpopo, Green Biotechnologies Research Centre of Excellence, Sovenga, Republic of South Africa aff001;  Agricultural Research Council-VOP, Pretoria, Republic of South Africa aff002
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article


Third-stage larvae (L3) of Steinernema feltiae exist as free-living infective juveniles (IJ), with suspended development activities. In contrast, parasitic stages (L1, L2, L4, adult) have mutualistic relations with Xenorhabdus species bacteria, along with unique morphological changes and development inside the cadaver of host insects and/or plant-parasitic nematodes. Commercial IJ strains are tolerant to cucurbitacin-containing phytonematicides, but we have scant information on how morphological adjustments in IJ are achieved. In this study, we investigated the nature of morphological adjustments in commercial S. feltiae IJ strains to Nemafric-BL phytonematicide, which contains cucurbitacin B as active ingredient. Post-72 h exposure to phytonematicide concentration, IJ specimens were fixed on mounting slides. Length (body, excretory pore to anterior end, pharynx, rectum, stoma, tail), diameter (head width, neck base, mid-body, anal body), cuticle thickness and De Man ratios were measured with a computer software programme attached to Omax light microscope. Morphometric data against increasing phytonematicide concentration exhibited either density-dependent quadratic, linear or neutral relations. Increase in body length at low phytonematicide concentration was accompanied by decrease in tail length and pharynx length during muscle contraction when IJ were still alive. After death at high phytonematicide concentration, the opposite morphometric effects ensued due to muscle relaxation. The observed changes in morphometric structures were explained on the basis of morphological adjustments that modulated volumes of pseudocoelom cavity in IJ. The modulation is intended to maintain hydrostatic pressure within permissible upper limits in order to avoid structural damage to internal organs embedded in the pseudocoelom fluids.

Klíčová slova:

Head – Hydrostatic pressure – Morphometry – Muscle contraction – Nematode infections – Pharynx – Plant pathology – Rectum


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