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Potato Root Nematodes

Globodera spp.

Potato Root Nematodes, Potato Cyst Nematodes, Golden Cyst Eelworm, Yellow Cyst Eelworm, White Cyst Eelworm

Potato Root Nematodes are tiny, worm-like creatures that live in the soil. They're microscopic and can't be seen with the human eye. Potato Root Nematodes target the roots of plants found in Solanaceae; such as potatoes and tomatoes. In agriculture, they can cause severe yield losses when infestations are left unchecked. The nematodes can build up in the soil over the years, making it difficult to grow the desired crops successfully. The main symptoms are similar to those produced by plants which have undergone water stress. The first symptoms usually noticed are leaf yellowing and wilting. White spherical cysts develop on the roots, which eventually turn dark brown. Each cyst can contain up to 600 eggs. Infestations can spread quickly for this reason. In the UK, the two species of Potato Eelworm likely to occur in gardens are the golden/ yellow cyst eelworm or the white cyst eelworm. These can be distinguished by the cyst colour. A hand lens may be required to determine the cyst colour.
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Attack the rooting systems of Potatoes and other plants in Solanaceae.


Identification: The cysts are probably the best way to identify the presence of the nematode. The cysts are spherical and can be white, yellow or brown. Cysts are approximately the size of a pinhead. A hand lens may be required to determine whether the cysts are golden or white.


Patches of poor growth. Foliage turns yellow. Delayed flowering. Wilting. Roots produce spherical cysts. They produce symptoms similar to over watering.





Africa, Europe, and some parts of Asia and North America

Biological treatment

Practise good hygiene by sterilising plant tools regularly. Always buy plants from trusted retailers. The green manure Sinapis alba helps reduce the occurrence of these nematodes. There are resistant varieties that you can plant to help reduce the overall population of nematodes in the soil. The varieties: Accent, Lady Christl, Pentland Javelin, Premiere, Rocket, Winston, Blue Danube, Kestrel, Nadine, Saxon, Cara, Maris Piper, Maxine, Nicola, Picasso, Sante, Stemster and Valor are known to reduce the rate of population growth, only allowing male nematodes to develop in roots. The varieties Harmony, Kestrel, Lady Balfour, Maxine, Sante and Valor, can produce viable crops when infestations are mild. Crop losses may occur if populations are allowed to build up over time. Long crop rotations are required to starve and eradicate populations. Some species can survive up to ten years!

Chemical treatment



A close up of a white and yellow Solanum tuberosum flower


Solanum tuberosum

A close up of a purple Solanum melongena flower


Solanum melongena

Some red Solanum lycopersicum tomatoes in a garden


Solanum lycopersicum

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