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Effect of Watering On the Distribution of Verticillium Chlamydosporium in Soil and the Colonisation of Egg Masses of Meloidogyne Incognita By the Fungus

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The distribution and establishment of the nematophagous fungus Verticillium chlamydosporium as affected by watering was investigated in three different experiments. A small proportion (c 1%) of the colony forming units (cfu) produced in soil were transported over distances greater than 50 cm. However, most cfu formed in soil moved less than 10 cm during 9 wk when water was applied weekly. Establishment of V. chlamydosporium was in general greater when the soil was watered from the top of the column, compared with a weekly watering in which the soil was saturated from below. Most (90%) of the root weight of tomato plants was concentrated in the top 30 cm of the soil profile. After 9 wk, most nematode damage occurred in the top 30 cm even though the nematode infestation was evenly distributed to a depth of 60 cm. Inoculation of the top 10 cm with V. chlamydosporium at a rate of 14,000 chlamydospores/g soil was sufficient to achieve high levels of root colonisation and the colonisation of all exposed Meloidogyne incognita egg-masses in the top 30 cm of the soil profile. Watering from below slowed the development of eggs of M. incognita and reduced the establishment of V. chlamydosporium, probably as a result of oxygen depletion. Control of M. incognita with V. chlamydosporium was greater in soil layers that were likely to be well aerated than those likely to be poorly aerated.

Affiliations: 1: Horticulture Research International, Littlehampton West Sussex, BN17 6LP, England; 2: IACR, AFRC, Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Herts., AL5 2JQ England


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