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Interactions of Collembola and Microflora of Cotton Rhizosphere. Elizabeth A. Wiggins, Former graduate research assistant, Department of Botany and Microbiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36830, Present address of senior author: Department of Nematology, University of California, Riverside 92521; E. A. Curl, professor, Department of Botany and Microbiology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36830. Phytopathology 69:244-249. Accepted for publication 18 September 1978. Copyright 1979 The American Phytopathological Society. DOI: 10.1094/Phyto-69-244.

Proisotoma minuta and Onychiurus encarpatus, the most prevalent rhizosphere species of Collembola in Alabama cotton fields, feed on both plant pathogens and saprophytic fungi. These insects readily transported fungal spores and bacteria through sterilized soil, resulting in the colonization of dead organic matter, cotton rhizosphere, and live roots with various organisms, including Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. vasinfectum. Rhizoctonia solani was not transported in quantities sufficient to colonize substrates. The animals were most attracted to roots during periods when the soil was drying slowly. A potential role is postulated for Collembola that may be disease-related, ie, transmitting spores to the rhizosphere and reducing inoculum density by feeding on pathogen mycelia.

Additional keywords: microarthropods.