Guava root knot nematode

Guava root knot nematode or GRKN (Meloidogyne enterolobii) is a species of plant parasitic nematode which can infect and damage a wide range of crops, including vegetables, ornamentals, plants and weeds. It is considered a high priority pest of ginger, onion, potato, sweet potato and other vegetables.


GRKN is primarily a pest of subtropical to tropical climates, but glasshouse environments may also be favourable to their growth. It is present across Asia, Africa, Europe, the Americas and the Caribbean.
GRKN has been reported in the Northern Territory and Queensland but is not known to occur elsewhere in Australia.

Symptoms of GRKN infection

Typical above-ground symptoms of GRKN infection include:

  • stunted growth
  • leaf yellowing
  • wilting of leaves and whole plant

However, the most characteristic symptom of GRKN infection is the presence of galls on the roots of plants (Figure 1). The galls are the feeding sites if the juvenile nematodes.

Image showing close up guava root knot nematode

Spread pathways

GRKN is transmitted via the movement of infested soil or plant material. This includes

  • soil
  • infected plants
  • bulbs and edible tubers
  • machinery and other equipment, including tools and bins used in field
  • footwear


To prevent the introduction or spread of GRKN, the following measures can be put into place:

Source planting material and seedlings from reputable suppliers

  • ensure planting material is free of soil and plant residues
  • Keep records of where plants/planting material/tubers are sourced from, and where and when they are planted on your property
  • routine testing of soil and plant materials
  • strict hygiene measures
  • regular monitoring of crops for symptoms
  • report suspect symptoms

Market access

GRKN is a declared exotic pest under the Plant Biosecurity Act 2010. Any suspect GRKN should be reported online or by calling 136 186. Market access restrictions may apply when importing GRKN host materials into Victoria. For more information, please check Agriculture Victoria’s online Plant Quarantine Manual  or email

Image credits

Jeffrey W. Lotz, Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services,

Page last updated: 25 Aug 2023