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Influence of Bacteria and Temperature On the Reproduction of Caenorhabditis Elegans (Nematoda: Rhabditidae) Infesting Mushrooms (Agaricus Bispor Us)

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Ten species of bacteria associated with Caenorhabditis elegans, a saprobic rhabditid nematode infesting cultivated mushroom (Agaricus bisporus), were isolated and identified. In monogenic cultures, five species of bacteria (Acinetobacter calcoaceticus var. anitratus, A. calcoaceticus var. lwoffi, Enterobacter cloacae, Pseudomonas maltophilia and Serratia liquefaciens) sustained the growth and reproduction of C. elegan.v for several generations. Bacillus cereus and Pseudomonas sp. supported growth and reproduction of the nematode, but resulted in smaller populations. E. amnigenus and P. aeruginosa could support nematode growth and reproduction for the first 2-3 generations; Bacillus sp. could support growth but not reproduction. The reproductive capacity of parthenogenetic female C. elegans varied with temperature and bacterial food source. Cubic equations were fitted to the data on nematode fecundity. Temperature optima for reproduction were estimated. Temperature significantly affected generation time of the nematode but bacterial species had little effect. The significance of interactions between C. elegans and its associated bacteria in mushroom culture is discussed.

Affiliations: 1: Entomology and Insect Pathology Section, Institute of Horticultural Research, Worthing Road, Littlehampton, West Sussex BN17 6LP, UK


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