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Cocoa Nematodes

Root knot nematodes, Meloidogyne spp., are the most important nematodes parasitic on cocoa because of the damage they cause and their wide distribution in cocoa producing regions. Other endoparasitic and ectoparasitic nematodes associated with damage to cocoa are Pratylenchus spp. and Dolichodorus. Meloidogyne spp. have been reported on cocoa from Ghana, Malawi, São Tomé, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, Zaire, Brazil, Bolivia, Venezuela and India. The species M. incognita is the most frequently found on cocoa in Africa and South America but M. javanica has also been found on the crop in Africa. Another species the well known coffee rootknot nematode, M. exigua, has been found associated with damage to cocoa in Bolivia.

Seedlings are often the most seriously damaged by root knot nematodes and in nurseries nematodes retard growth of the young plants and may even kill them. The transplantation of seedlings infested with nematodes carries the nematodes to the plantations where the transplants can die early in their growth. Symptoms of damage associated with root knot nematodes are dieback, stunting, wilting, chlorosis of the leaves and reduction in size of leaves. The nematodes induce root galls on both seedlings and trees in the field, producing patches of stunted young trees in the plantations or dieback and sudden death of the infested trees.

CABI Bioscience has key expertise in the accurate identification of species of nematodes of cocoa by both classical and molecular taxonomy

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Contact CABI Commodities:
CABI Commodities Coffee Co-ordinator - Dr. Peter Baker - p.baker@cabi.org
CABI Commodities Cocoa Co-ordinator - Dr. J. Flood - j.flood@cabi.org
CABI Commodities Project Administrator - cabi-commodities@cabi.org