Early detection of root-knot nematode (Meloidogyne incognita) infection by monitoring root dielectric response non-destructively
More details
Hide details
Department of Zoology and Ecology, Hungarian University of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Páter Károly u. 1., H-2100 Gödöllő, Hungary
Department of Soil Physics and Water Management, Institute for Soil Sciences, Centre for Agricultural Research, ELKH, Herman Ottó út 15., H-1022 Budapest, Hungary
Imre Cseresnyés   

Department of Soil Physics and Water Management, Institute for Soil Sciences, Centre for Agricultural Research, ELKH, Herman Ottó út 15., H-1022, Budapest, Hungary
Final revision date: 2023-03-24
Acceptance date: 2023-03-29
Publication date: 2023-05-17
Int. Agrophys. 2023, 37(2): 179–187
  • We first used root dielectric measurement to detect Meloidogyne infestation in situ.
  • Nematode entry and development markedly changed the root dielectric properties.
  • The effect was due to altered root anatomy and physiology linked to gall formation.
  • Obvious aboveground symptoms did not appeared on infected plants.
  • The presented non-destructive method can contribute to an improved nematode control.
The early recognition of root-knot nematode injury belowground is essential in order to avoid serious crop losses. The measurement efficiency of the root dielectric response for detecting Meloidogyne incognita infection non-destructively was tested in potted cucumber and tomato. The electrical capacitance, dissipation factor and electrical conductance of the root, and also the leaf chlorophyll concentration were measured instrumentally three times during plant growth, this was followed by an evaluation of the root galling intensity after harvest. The electrical capacitance and conductance increased significantly shortly after Meloidogyne infection, this was likely due to the substantially enhanced surface area and electrolyte permeability of the root membranes during giant cell formation. The dissipation factor and electrical conductance (related to hydraulic conductance) markedly decreased at the late stage of nematode infection, this was due to restricted root growth and solute uptake caused by the intrusion of giant cells into the root vascular tissues. No serious aboveground pest symptoms were visible in the plants studied owing to the low inoculum density. The results demonstrated the potential of dielectric measurement for the early detection of root-knot nematode infection without plant damage, before the appearance of obvious disease symptoms. This diagnostic tool has the potential to contribute to the improved selection of Meloidogyne-resistant crop genotypes, as well as more efficient nematode control to mitigate economic losses.
The authors thank Barbara Harasztos for language editing and anonymous reviewers for their valuable remarks.
The work was funded by the National Research, Development and Innovation Fund of Hungary (NKFIH), project No. 137617, financed under the FK-21 funding scheme (2021-2025).
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
Abd-Elgawad M.M.M. and Askary T.H., 2015. Impact of phytonematodes on agriculture economy. In: Biocontrol Agents of Phytonematodes (Eds T.H. Askary, P.R.P. Martinelli). CAB International, 3-49,
Al Abadiyah Ralmi N.H., Khandaker M.M., and Mat N., 2016. Occurrence and control of root knot nematode in crops: A review. Austr. J. Crop Sci., 10, 1649-1654,
Aubrecht L., Staněk Z., and Koller J., 2006. Electrical measurement of the absorption surfaces of tree roots by the earth impedance methods: 1. Theory. Tree Physiol., 26, 1105-1112,
Bernard G.C., Egnin M., and Bonsi C., 2017. The impact of plant-parasitic nematodes on agriculture and methods of control. In: Nematology - Concepts, Diagnosis and Control (Ed. M.M. Shah). IntechOpen, London, 121-151,
Cseresnyés I., Rajkai K., Takács T., and Vozáry E., 2018. Electrical impedance phase angle as an indicator of plant root stress. Biosyst. Engin., 169, 226-232,
Cseresnyés I., Takács T., Sepovics B., Kovács R., Füzy A., Parádi I., and Rajkai K., 2019. Electrical characterization of the root system: a noninvasive approach to study plant stress responses. Acta Physiol. Plantarum, 41, 169,
Dalton F.N., 1995. In-situ root extent measurements by electrical capacitance methods. Plant Soil, 173, 157-165,
Dietrich R.C., Bengough A.G., Jones H.G., and White P.J., 2012. A new physical interpretation of plant root capacitance. J. Exp. Bot., 63, 6149-6159,
Dorhout R, Gommers F.J., and Kollöffel C., 1991. Water transport through tomato roots infected with Meloidogyne incognita. Phytopathology, 81, 379-385,
Ehosioke S., Nguyen F., Rao S., Kremer T., Placencia-Gomez E., Huisman J.A., Kemna A., Javaux M., and Garré S., 2020. Sensing the electrical properties of roots: A review. Vadose Zone J., 19, e20082,
Ellis T., Murray W., Paul K., Kavalieris L., Brophy J., Williams C., and Maass M., 2013. Electrical capacitance as a rapid and non-invasive indicator of root length. Tree Physiol., 33, 3-17,
Gu H., Liu L., Butnor J.R., Sun H., Zhang X., Li C., and Liu X., 2021. Electrical capacitance estimates crop root traits best under dry conditions - a case study in cotton (Gossypium hirsutum L.). Plant Soil, 467, 549-567,
Jones M.G.K., and Goto D.B., 2011. Root-knot nematodes and giant cells. In: Genomics and Molecular Genetics of Plant-Nematode Interactions (Eds J. Jones, G. Gheysen, C. Fenoll). Springer, Dordrecht, 83-100,
Kamran M., Anwar S.A., Javed N., Khan S.A., Abbas H., Iqbal M.A., and Zohaib A., 2013. The influence of Meloidogyne incognita density on susceptible tomato. Pakist. J. Zool., 45, 727-732.
Li M.Q., Li J.Y., Wei X.H., and Zhu W.J., 2017. Early diagnosis and monitoring of nitrogen nutrition stress in tomato leaves using electrical impedance spectroscopy. Int. J. Agric. Biol. Engin., 10, 194-205.
Liu Y., Li D.M., Qian J., Di B., Zhang G., and Ren Z.H., 2021. Electrical impedance spectroscopy (EIS) in plant root research: a review. Plant Methods, 17, 118,
López-Gómez M., Flor-Peregrín E., Talavera M., Sorribas F.J., and Verdejo-Lucas S., 2015. Population dynamics of Meloidogyne javanica and its relationship with the leaf chlorophyll content in zucchini. Crop Prot., 70, 8-14,
Lu W., Wang X., Wang F., and Liu J., 2020. Fine root capture and phenotypic analysis for tomato infected with Meloidogyne incognita. Comp. Elect. Agric., 173, 105455,
Maqsood A., Wu H., Kamran M., Altaf H., Mustafa A., Ahmar S., Hong N.T.T., Tariq K., He Q., and Chen J-T., 2020. Variations in growth, physiology and antioxidative defense responses of two tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.) cultivars after co-infection of Fusarium oxysporum and Meloidogyne incognita. Agronomy, 10, 159,
Mary B., Peruzzo L., Boaga J., Schmutz M., Wu Y., Hubbard S.S., and Cassiani G., 2018. Small-scale characterization of vine plant root water uptake via 3-D electrical resistivity tomography and mise-à-la-masse method. Hydrol. Earth Syst. Sci, 22, 5427-5444,
Meidani C., Ntalli N.G., Giannoutsou E., and Adamakis I.D.S., 2019. Cell wall modifications in giant cells induced by the plant parasitic nematode Meloidogyne incognita in wild-type (Col-0) and the fra2 Arabidopsis thaliana katanin mutant. Int. J. Mol. Sci., 20, 5465,
Mukhtar T., Kayani M.Z., and Hussain M.A., 2013. Response of selected cucumber cultivars to Meloidogyne incognita. Crop Prot., 44, 13-17,
Mukhtar T. and Kayani M.Z., 2020. Comparison of the damaging effects of Meloidogyne incognita on a resistant and susceptible cultivar of cucumber. Plant Prot., 79, 83-93,
Olthof T.H.A. and Potter J.W., 1972. Relationship between population densities of Meloidogyne hapla and crop losses in summer-maturing vegetables in Ontario. Phytopathology, 62, 981-986,
Peruzzo L., Chou C., Wu Y., Schmutz M., Mary B., Wagner F.M., Petrov P., Newman G., Blancaflor E.B., Liu X., Ma X., and Hubbard S., 2020. Imaging of plant current pathways for non-invasive root phenotyping using a newly developed electrical current source density approach. Plant Soil, 450, 567-584,
Poll J., Marhan S., Haase S., Hallmann J., Kandeler E., and Ruess L., 2007. Low amounts of herbivory by root-knot nematodes affect microbial community dynamics and carbon allocation in the rhizosphere. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol., 62, 268-279,
Prasad A. and Roy M., 2020. Bioimpedance analysis of vascular tissue and fluid flow in human and plant body: A review. Biosyst. Engin., 197, 170-187,
Sikandar A., Zhang M.Y., Wang Y.Y., Zhu X.F., Liu X.Y., Fan H.Y., Xuan Y.H., Chen L.J., and Duan X.Y., 2020. Review article: Meloidogyne incognita (root-knot nematode) a risk to agriculture. Appl. Ecol. Environ. Res., 18, 1679-1690,
Strajnar P., Širca S., Urek G., Šircelj H., Železnik P., and Vodnik D., 2012. Effect of Meloidogyne ethiopica on water management and physiological stress in tomato. Eur. J. Plant Pathol., 132, 49-57,
Středa T., Haberle J., Klimešová J., Klimek-Kopyra A., Středová H., Bodner G., and Chloupek O., 2020. Field phenotyping of plant roots by electrical capacitance - a standardized methodological protocol for application in plant breeding: a review. Int. Agrophys., 34, 173-184,
Weigand M. and Kemna A., 2019. Imaging and functional characterization of crop root systems using spectroscopic electrical impedance measurements. Plant Soil, 435, 201-224,
Xiang D., Zhang G., Gong R., Di B., and Tian Y., 2018. Effect of cadmium stress on growth and electrical impedance spectroscopy parameters of Cotinus coggygria roots. Water Air Soil Pollut., 229, 279,