Assessing the impact of root lesion nematode infestations on the production of potatoes


The aim of this studentship project was to investigate the incidence of root-lesion nematodes (RLN), their impact on potato yield and to improve the diagnostic tests available to detect the nematodes. 

Key findings

  • 200 potato fields from fifteen counties in England with the highest area of potato production were sampled between September and November, in 2017 and 2019.
  • Root Lesion Nematodes (RLN)  were detected in 88% of samples.
  • Identification of RLN species from positive survey samples showed that
    • Pneglectus (31%) and P. thornei (19%) were the most  common, mainly in East of England and the South East
    • P. penetrans (18%) was mainly found in the East and South East of England
    • P. crenatus (9%) in the East and West of England.
  • Eighteen samples from Scotland were also included and 94% fields showed the presence of RLN. Pratylenchus neglectus and crenatus were the most present and abundant species.
  • In controlled environment studies,  P. penetrans at densities from 2 to 32 nematode g-1 soil had no effect on potato yield
  • Molecular diagnostics for the identification and quantification of the 4 main Pratylenchus species were improved and validated
Project code:
01 October 2016 - 30 April 2021
Project leader:
Valeria Orlando and Matt Back


11120009 Final Report 2021