Pinewood nematode population growth in relation to pine phloem chemical composition

C. S. Pimentel, P. N. Firmino, T. Calvão, M. P. Ayres, I. Miranda, H. Pereira

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7 Citations (Scopus)


The pinewood nematode, Bursaphelenchus xylophilus, native to North America (NA), is now a major invasive pine pest in Eurasia. Pine species differ greatly in their susceptibility to B. xylophilus, and differences in susceptibility might be related to differences in phytochemistry. This study addressed two major questions: (i) which plant chemical profiles (including compounds that act as plant defences and those important for nutrition) favour pinewood nematode development; and (ii) are NA and Portuguese pinewood nematodes different in their capacity to subsist on plant tissues? For this, B. xylophilus isolates from NA and Portugal were tested on pine phloem and xylem of different pine species. It was found that unaltered pine phloem can sustain the population growth of B. xylophilus, but only in a few cases, and this was clearly related to distinct chemical profiles in some pine species. No evidence was found of evolutionary divergence between B. xylophilus populations in Portugal and NA. The pine species with phloem on which pinewood nematodes could grow tended to have low levels of total phenols, condensed tannins, flavonoids and lignin. Evidence was also found that nutrients such as N may be important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)856-864
Number of pages9
JournalPlant Pathology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Bursaphelenchus xylophilus
  • condensed tannins
  • flavonoids
  • lignin
  • Pinus
  • total phenols

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