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Galician Pines with High-Resistance to Nematodes Identified by the CIF

Lourizán, 27 June 2016
29 June, 2016
The CIF Lourizán has been working since 2013 in the selection of trees that are less susceptible to this pest attack. The species’ mortality by nematode varies from 75% –in the most susceptible families, to 10% –in the less susceptible ones.

Lourizán, 27 June 2016.- The pine nematode is a Sword of Damocles to the Galician forests. At the moment, the presence of this pest is limited to 2 areas –detected in the Galician municipalities of As Neves (2010) and Salvaterra do Miño (2016). However, it is not clear if the expansion of this problem would increase in the future. Having this threat, the CIF Lourizán has been working for 4 years on the identification of Galician indigenous pine (Pinus pinaster) with high-resistance to this pest. This year, it also started a research on Monterey pine (Pinus radiata). First results show that some pines families perform better than others. Nevertheless, any of them are totally inmune to nematodes. “Mortality in trials fluctuates from 75% –in the most susceptible families, to 10% –in the most resistant ones,” explains the research coordinator, Raquel Díaz Vázquez.

The identification of trees with better qualities against this pest represents a line of defence to Galician forests –especially, in case that Galicia has to deal with the nematode in the future. In Portugal, until 2008, nematode-affected areas were all in the south of the country –with Lisbon surroundings as the northern limit. Nowadays, affected areas can be found in Oporto –or even further northwards, in the central region of the country. Therefore, nematodes pest having more impact in Galicia cannot be discarded. However, Galician climate conditions –with less hotter nights, are initially less favourable to the growth of the problem./p>

Research. Researcher Raquel Díaz Vázquez –within the CIF Lourizán, coordinates from 2011 two research projects at national level on diseases caused by pinewood nematodes. One of these projects is carried out in Lourizán. It focuses on the search of a plant resistant to nematodes. Besides, the other project –developed by the University of Valladolid (Spain), is focused on the control of the nematodes vector insect, that is, the longhorn beetle Monochamus galloprovinciallis; this insect plays a very important role in this disease, since the nematode cannot move by itself. The CIF Lourizán is assessing the perfomance of about 100 Galician pine families –selected within the framework of its Genetic Improvement of the Species Programme. The research is held in one of the CIF’s greenhouses. There, the nematode is inoculated into 2 or 3 years-old plants. The above-mentioned facilities are kept totally isolated from the outside environment by using a double-access door and biosecurity measures to avoid any accidentally leak of the pest.

Comparative Tests. The research that is taking place in Lourizán receives fundings from public bodies and from the Spanish multinational Inditex. Besides, researchers are assessing the results obtained from Galician Pinus pinaster and Pinus radiata families and comparing them to other species –such as the store pine (Pinus pinea), the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), the Canary Island pine (Pinus canariensis); the Scots pine (Pinus sylvestris), also present in some mountainous areas of Galicia; and the Loblolly pine (Pinus taeda). The latter one –the Loblolly pine, is an American species resistant to the nematode; nonetheless, little is known about its possible perfomance within the community. “The best option seems to be the identification of indigenous species’ families that are known to be well-adapted to Galicia –e.g. the Maritime or the Monterey pines, as well as have a good perfomance against the pest,” appreciates the researcher Raquel Díaz Vázquez.

The CIF Lourizán has this research quite avanced and expects the conclusions to be fine-tuned in the following years. The aim is to give future advice on pine families that would respond more effectively to the presence of pests in Galicia.