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Nematode-Trapping Fungi in Organic and Conventional Cropping Systems

April 1998 , Volume 88 , Number  4
Pages  344 - 350

B. A. Jaffee , H. Ferris , and K. M. Scow

First and second authors: Department of Nematology; third author: Department of Land, Air, and Water Resources, University of California at Davis, 1 Shields Ave., Davis 95616-8668

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Accepted for publication 13 January 1998.

Nematode-trapping fungi, nematodes, and microbial biomass were quantified in conventionally and organically managed field plots in the Sustainable Agriculture Farming Systems Project at the University of California at Davis. There were four replicate plots (0.135 ha per plot) for each management system, and plots were sampled three times each year for 2 years. The hypothesis that nematode-trapping fungi would be more abundant in organically managed plots was partially supported: the number of species of nematode-trapping fungi was slightly but significantly greater in organic than in conventional plots, two species (Arthrobotrys dactyloides and Nematoctonus leiosporus) were detected more frequently in organic plots, and the population densities of A. dactyloides and N. leiosporus were greater in organic than in conventional plots. Two other species (A. haptotyla and A. thaumasia), however, tended to be more numerous in conventional than in organic plots, and the total density of nematode-trapping fungi was similar in organic and conventional plots. Bacterivorous nematodes were more abundant and microbial biomass (substrate-induced respiration) was greater in organic than in conventional plots. Suppression of the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica, as measured in a bioassay, was not related to management system or population density of nematode-trapping fungi but was positively related to microbial biomass.

Additional keywords: nematophagous fungi , plant-parasitic nematodes .

© 1998 The American Phytopathological Society