Golden nematode (GN), Globodera rostochiensis, is considered to be potentially more dangerous than any of the insects and diseases affecting the potato industry. Once it is established, potato production is impractical except in long crop rotations or when planting GN resistant potato varieties. Potatoes and tomatoes are the principal crops of economic importance that are attacked by this pest. The nematode also reproduces on the roots of eggplant and on some wild solanaceous weeds. Damaging populations of the nematode develop when susceptible crops are planted in a monoculture or rotation.
GN is recognized as a major potato pest in Europe. In England approximately 75 percent of potato production land is now infested resulting in severe crop restrictions. GN was first discovered in the U.S. in 1941, when it was found to be responsible for serious crop damage in a potato field on Long Island NY.
Canada, Mexico and the United States all have imposed domestic and foreign quarantine restrictions to prevent artificial spread of the golden nematode from known infested areas to uninfested areas within their borders and prevent introductions from areas known to be infested outside of their borders.
GN is controlled using a crop rotation of GN resistant potato varieties and non-host crops. Over 43 new potato varieties have been developed which are GN resistant. Recently a second race of GN known as Ro2 has been detected in a few fields. Efforts are underway to increase the number of potato varieties that are resistant to both races, Ro1 and Ro2. Use of resistant varieties is preferable to chemical nematicides which have several negative aspects.
National Policy Manager