What is a Root-Knot Nematode?
Nematodes, also known as roundworms, are microscopic, unsegmented worms within the phylum Nematoda. Nematodes are widely considered the most abundant animal on the planet, given that they inhabit almost every single environment including the ocean, bodies of fresh water, soil, plants, animals, and even humans!
Plant-pathologists are interested in the plant-parasitic nematodes, particularly root-knot nematodes (RKN) within the genus Meloidogyne. The Meloidogyne genus comprises multiple species of root-knot nematode including Meloidogyne enterolobii (guava root-knot nematode), Meloidogyne incognita (southern root-knot nematode), Meloidogyne hapla (northern root-knot nematode), Meloidogyne arenaria (peanut root-knot nematode), and Meloidogyne javanica (Javanese root-knot nematode). M. enterolobii and M. incognita are the main species that cause the most serious damage to sweetpotato.