• IGS ;
  • molecular identification;
  • mtDNA;
  • rDNA region

A molecular-based assay was employed to analyse and accurately identify various root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) parasitizing potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) in South Africa. Using the intergenic region (IGS) and the 28S D2–D3 expansion segments within the ribosomal DNA (rDNA), together with the region between the cytochrome oxidase subunit II (COII) and the 16S rRNA gene of the mtDNA, 78 composite potato tubers collected from seven major potato growing provinces were analysed and all Meloidogyne species present were identified. During this study, Mincognita, M. arenaria, M. javanica, M. hapla, M. chitwoodi and M. enterolobii were identified. The three tropical species M. javanica, M. incognita and M. arenaria were identified as the most prevalent species, occurring in almost every region sampled. Meloidogyne hapla and M. enterolobii occurred in Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal, respectively, while M. chitwoodi was isolated from two growers located within the Free State. Results presented here form part of the first comprehensive surveillance study of root-knot nematodes to be carried out on potatoes in South Africa using a molecular-based approach. The three genes were able to distinguish various Meloidogyne populations from one another, providing a reliable and robust method for future use in diagnostics within the potato industry for these phytoparasites.