217 Plant Sciences, Department of Plant Pathology, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville 72701
The reniform nematode, Rotylenchulus reniformis, is a serious threat to cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) production in the United States, causing an annual loss of about $80 million. The objective of this study was to isolate fungi from eggs of R. reniformis and select potential biocontrol agents for R. reniformis on cotton. We focused on the fungus Pochonia chlamydosporia because it suppresses root-knot and cyst nematodes and because preliminary data indicated that it was present in Arkansas cotton fields. Soil samples were collected from six cotton fields in Jefferson County, Arkansas. A total of 117 isolates of the nematophagous fungus P. chlamydosporia were obtained. In an in vitro test, 105 of the 117 isolates parasitized fewer than 15% of R. reniformis eggs, but 12 isolates parasitized between 16 and 35% of the eggs. These 12 isolates produced from 6.8 × 104 to 6.9 × 105 chlamydospores per gram of medium in vitro, and chlamydospore production was similar on rice grain and corn grain media. In two greenhouse experiments, a single application of isolate 37 (5,000 chlamydospores per gram of soil) significantly reduced the numbers of R. reniformis on cotton roots and in soil. The three isolates (37, 26, and 14) that parasitized the most eggs in vitro were also the most effective in suppressing numbers of R. reniformis and in increasing cotton growth in the greenhouse.