Suppression of the Root-knot Nematode Meloidogyne javanica by Alginate Pellets Containing the Nematophagous Fungi Hirsutella rhossiliensis , Monacrosporium cionopagum and M. ellipsosporum

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The endoparasitic fungus Hirsutella rhossiliensis and the nematode-trapping fungi Monacrosporium cionopagum and M. ellipsosporum were formulated as hyphae in alginate pellets. In a soil microcosm experiment, dried pellets of all three fungi decreased the invasion of cabbage seedlings by the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica when juvenile nematodes were placed 2 cm from roots; M. cionopagum was more effective than the other two fungi, reducing nematode invasion by 40-95% with 0.24-0.94 pellets cm - 3 of soil. In a field microplot experiment, in which neither H. rhossiliensis nor M. ellipsosporum suppressed nematodes, 0.5 pellets of M. cionopagum cm - 3 of soil suppressed M. javanica invasion of tomato seedlings by 73%. In a second microplot experiment with only M. cionopagum , again at 0.5 pellets cm - 3 of soil, the fungus suppressed the invasion of tomato seedlings whether the pellets were added 0, 5 or 14 days before planting; the population density of M. cionopagum increased to nearly 3000 propagules g - 1 of soil by day 8 and then declined to less than 300 by day 22. Enchytraeid worms were observed in and around damaged and apparently destroyed pellets in both microplot experiments. Whether enchytraeids consumed the fungi or otherwise affected biological control requires additional research.
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