An inoculation experiment of Japanese Bursaphelenchus nematodes on Japanese black and red pine, Pinus thunbergii and P. densiflora

Research paper by Natsumi Kanzaki, Takuya Aikawa, Noritoshi Maehara, Yu Ichihara

Indexed on: 15 Sep '10Published on: 15 Sep '10Published in: Journal of Forest Research


The pinewood nematode (PWN) Bursaphelenchus xylophilus is an invasive pathogen that was introduced from North America to Asian countries and Portugal and is devastating native pine forests. Some native European and Asian Bursaphelenchus nematodes also have weak to moderate pathogenicity to native pine species. To evaluate the potential risk of native Bursaphelenchus species, we inoculated ten Japanese Bursaphelenchus species into native pine species (the dominant forest species) in Japan, and evaluated their pathogenicity using mortality and tracheal tissue damage as indices. Inoculation was conducted on August 3, 2007, and the symptoms were observed every 2 weeks until February 1, 2008. None of the inoculated trees, excluding the pathogenic PWN inoculated control, showed external disease symptoms; however, four species [a less pathogenic PWN isolate, B. luxuriosae, Bursaphelenchus sp. NK215 (undescribed), and NK224 (undescribed)] caused tracheal tissue damage in inoculated seedlings and showed weak pathogenicity. Therefore, we conclude that there are some potentially pathogenic native species of nematodes distributed in Japan. Interestingly, two of these weakly pathogenic species, B. luxuriosae and NK215, are not associated with Pinaceae trees, suggesting that nematode pathogenicity may be a pre-adaptive character. More experimental studies under different conditions are necessary to accurately evaluate the potential risk of these pathogens.