Bacteria isolated from the cuticle of plant-parasitic nematodes attached to and antagonized the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne hapla
Plant-parasitic nematodes are associated with specifically attached soil bacteria. To investigate these bacteria, we employed culture-dependent methods to isolate a representative set of strains from the cuticle of the infective stage (J2) of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne hapla in different soils. The bacteria with the highest affinity to attach to J2 belonged to the genera Microbacterium, Sphingopyxis, Brevundimonas, Acinetobacter, and Micrococcus as revealed by 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Dynamics of the attachment of two strains showed fast adhesion in less than two hours, and interspecific competition for attachment sites. Isolates from the cuticle of M. hapla J2 attached to the lesion nematode Pratylenchus penetrans, and vice versa, suggesting similar attachment sites on both species. Removal of the surface coat by treatment of J2 with the cationic detergent CTAB reduced bacterial attachment, but did not prevent it. Some of the best attaching bacteria impaired M. hapla performance in vitro by significantly affecting J2 mortality, J2 motility and egg hatch. Most of the tested bacterial attachers significantly reduced the invasion of J2 into tomato roots, suggesting their beneficial role in soil suppressiveness against M. hapla.