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Enhancement Project

The Tennessee Pest Management Network is a component of the Southern IPM Center.

Description of Tennessee's Pest Management Information Network Enhancement Project:

Funded Program: Enhancement Grants - Special Projects

Title: Determining Distribution of a Cyst Nematode on Corn in the Midsouth
Start Date: Jul-01-2007
End Date: Jun-30-2008

The University of Tennessee obtained funding to aid in determining the distribution of a newly discovered corn pest. In 2006, a cyst nematode was recovered from roots of stunted corn plants in a major corn seed production area of Tennessee, Obion County. Preliminary greenhouse studies have suggested that this nematode reproduces on corn and not on dicotyledonous crop roots (soybeans). Morphological and molecular identification of the cyst nematode is ongoing but the USDA Nematology Lab contracted by APHIS and has confirmed that the nematode is not Heterodera zeae, the corn cyst nematode. Previously the corn cyst nematode was under federal quarantine, but has since been removed. Molecular tests have confirmed that the cysts found in 2006 corn production are not any of the common monocotyledon cyst nematode species (H. iri, H. mani), however, it is identical to an undescribed cyst nematode found in west Tennessee on goose grass (Eleusine indica) in 1978. The University of Tennessee proposed to work with the University of Kentucky and Mississippi State University to survey suspected areas, obtain cropping history to determine the threat of this nematode to the corn production areas of each state and to determine spread and biology of this cyst nematode. Information concerning positive findings and areas of sampling will be reported to the Southern Plant Diagnostic Network. Funding in the amount of $23,000 was obtained to conduct a multi-state survey and greenhouse bioassays.

Objectives of the project included:

1) Determine the distribution of the cyst nematode which reproduces on corn.

2) Obtain cropping history to determine the threat of this nematode to corn production in each state surveyed.

3) Determine spread and biology of this cyst nematode.

Principle Investigators:

  • Darrell D. Hensley, University of Tennessee
  • Pat Donald, USDA
  • Don Hershman, University of Kentucky
  • Tom Allen, University of Mississippi


This investigation determined that only two counties (Obion and Lauderdale) within Tennessee currently harbor this pest. Results were negative for Kentucky and todate (12/1/08) negative results for surveyed areas of three counties in Mississippi.

Direct questions concerning this program to:

Darrell D. Hensley
University of Tennessee
Entomology and Plant Pathology
2431 Joe Johnson Drive, 205 PSB
Knoxville, TN 37996-4560
Phone 865-974-7958
Fax 865-974-8868
email =

Funding for the national network of Pest Management Centers was authorized by Section 406 of the Agricultural Research, Extension, and Education Reform Act of 1998. As the result of a second competitive process in 2003, four IPM Centers across the United States were again funded in FY 2003, with the Southern Region Center located at the NSF Center for IPM at North Carolina State University.