Influence of temperature on pine wilt disease progression in Pinus thunbergii seedlings

  • R. Yamaguchi
  • K. Matsunaga
  • A. WatanabeEmail author


Pine wilt disease (PWD) affects forests globally and is caused by the pinewood nematode (PWN) Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. It has been proposed that PWD development has a strong association with air temperature. Because symptom development is related to the number of PWNs and they are poikilothermic animals whose development and multiplication are affected by temperature; it appears that temperature conditions affect the PWN multiplication rate, which leads to difference in disease progression. However, limited information is available about the temperatures inside pine trees, and the understanding of how temperature affects PWN multiplication and PWD progression remains incomplete. Therefore, in the present study, we evaluated the temperature, number of PWNs, and external symptoms of PWD in Pinus thunbergii seedlings infected with PWNs at air temperatures of 20 °C, 25 °C, and 30 °C over time. We found that the seedling temperatures were slightly higher than the air temperature under each temperature condition and that the effective accumulated temperature calculated using a base temperature of 10 °C was related to the number of PWNs and symptom development in all temperature test groups. However, at 20 °C, there were very few PWNs in some seedlings and none of the seedlings showed partial or full wilting. These findings suggest that PWD progression is greatly affected by ambient temperature and facilitated by increase in PWN populations with effective accumulated temperature especially in the range of 25 °C–30 °C.


Pine wilt disease Bursaphelenchus xylophilus Pinus thunbergii seedling Temperature 



This study was part of a commissioned project supported by the Forestry Agency of Japan. It was also supported by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, KAKENHI Grant Number JP16K07780. The authors would like to thank Enago ( for the English language review.

Funding information

This study was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science, KAKENHI (grant number JP16K07780).

Compliance with ethical standards

The authors declare that ethical standards have been followed and that no human participants or animals were involved in this research.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10658_2019_1908_MOESM1_ESM.docx (50 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 50 kb)


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Planteziektenkundige Vereniging 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Bioresource & Bioenvironmental SciencesKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan
  2. 2.Kyushu Regional Breeding Office, Forest Tree Breeding CenterForestry and Forest Products Research InstituteKumamotoJapan
  3. 3.Faculty of AgricultureKyushu UniversityFukuokaJapan

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