Golden Nematode, Globodera rostochiensis

The Golden Nematode (Globodera rostochiensis), also known as the golden eelworm or yellow potato cyst nematode, is a species of plant pathogenic nematode originally stemming from the Andes Mountains of South America. It was first discovered in Germany in 1913, believed to have arrived in Europe with imported potatoes sometime in the 19th century. It was first discovered in the US in 1941, in Canada in the 60s, and in Mexico in the 70s. It has also been found throughout Asia, Africa and Australia.

This nematode is a primary pest of potatoes and tomatoes. It affects plants in the Solanaceae family by forming cysts on the roots of susceptible species. The cysts, being composed of dead nematodes, are formed to protect the female’s eggs and are typically yellow-brown in color.

Poor plant growth is generally the first symptom stemming from infestation, followed by chlorosis and wilting. Heavy infestations can lead to reduced root systems, water stress, and nutrient deficiencies. Infested plants are also susceptible to fungal infections.

Symptoms of golden nematode infestation are not unique, and thus identification of the pest is usually performed through testing of soil samples.

Image Caption: Nematode cysts on potato roots. Credit: Xiaohong Wang/Wikipedia