Reported median body size for this species (Length mm; width micrometers; weight micrograms) - Click:
Temperate regions; Europe, North America (Marin County, California), South
in California Nematode Pest Rating System.
Causes severe damage to sweetpotatoes in
the Shandong province of China (Wang et al., 1995).
Obligate parasite of higher and lower plants.
Ditylenchus destructor usually feeds as an endoparasite below ground
on tulips and other bulbs, but can also feed on fungal hyphae.
To degrade plant cell walls, Ditylenchus destructor produces
cellulases in the esophageal glands. Two cellulase gaenes code for β-1,4-endoglucanases,
both of which may hacve evolved from a common ancestral gene. Stylet
secretions indicate cellulase activity. RNAi silencing of the
cellulase genes in the nematode resulted in a 50% decrease in infection of
potato Peng et al., 2014).
Iris, tulip and and other ornamental bulbs, sweetpotato.
Sugarbeet, carrot, potato, peanut; weeds and fungi as alternate hosts.
Ditylenchus destructor does not have the J4 resistant stage seen in D.
destructor. It does not become anhydrobiotic and form
The nematode can survive on weed and fungal hosts; does not withstand
Nematode enters potato tubers through lenticels and forms a white, mealy
spot. Tissues shrink; brown lesions appear; outer skin becomes
papery. Secondary invasions occur; general rot may also occur.
In Marin County, California, infestation first occurred in 1968 in potatoes
following iris bulbs. No above-ground symptoms on potatoes, but there were
pin-hole lesions on surface of tubers.
Nematode secretes pectinase enzyme and proteases to digest starch and
proteins; this causes cell disintegration.
Ditylenchus destructor also attacks potato
tubers and produces the typical sunken lesions and dry-rot condition.
Lesions produced by this nematode are usually deeper than those produced by D.
destructor. Secondary fungal and bacterial invasion can also occur in
lesions caused by D. destructor.
Black lesions appear; leaves are poorly developed and yellow-tipped; stem
infestations can occur, but are rare.
Important pest on the 500,000 acres of peanuts in South Africa where it
reduces yield by 12% and reduces quality by discoloring seed testa.
Discolored seed is downgraded into lower quality (and value) classes:
Export>Domestic>Processing. The price changes associated with
downgrading are much more significant than the direct yield loss.
Causes water loss and cell shrinkage in sweetpotato tubers; also reduction in
size and number of starch grains (Sun et al, 1998; Wang et al, 1995).
Start with clean seed potato tubers.
rotation is not effective as the species is polyphagous.
Host-plant resistance in potato has been explored on a limited scale.
Sixty eight of 508 varieties and accessions of sweetpotato showed resistance in
China (Wang, 1995). Xylem parenchyma had thicker, lignified walls in
resistant varieties (Lin, 1996).
Host Plant Resistance, Non-hosts and Crop Rotation alternatives:
fumigation is rarely economical. However, control was achieved in
the Marin County infestation by using ethylene dibromide (EDB) applied at a rate
of 90 lbs/acre, with chisels 12" apart.
Early harvest of peanuts avoids some economic loss in South Africa.
Cultivars are selected that allow early harvest in specific biogeographic
regions (Venter et al., 1991).
Lin, M.S., L.M. He, L. Wen and Z.D. Fang. 1996. Mechanism of morphological
structure of sweet potato resistance to root rot nematode (Ditylenchus
destructor). Scientia Agricultura Sinica 29:8-12.
Peng, H., Peng. D., Long, H., He, W., Qiao, F., Wang, G., and Huang, W.
2014. Characterization and functional importance of β-1,4-endoglucanases
from the potato rot nematode, Ditylenchus destructor. Nematology 16:505-517.
Sun, J.H., D.L. Peng, K.L. Yu, P. Bi, and Y. K. Peng. 1998. SEM study on
tissue pathology of stem nematode disease of sweet potato. Acta Agriculturae
Boreali Sinica 13:101-105.
Venter C., D. DeWaele, and A.J. Meyer. 1991. Reproductive and damage
potential of Ditylenchus destructor on peanut. Jourrnal of Nematology 23:12-19.
Wang, Q.M., C.X. Chang, J.J. Wang and G.H. Xi. 1995. Identification of
resistance to stem nematode in sweetpotato. Crop Genetic Resources