Influence of land use and soil management practices on the occurence of nematode destroying fungi in Taita Taveta,Kenya
Wachira, Peter M.
Mibey, Richard K
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Due to the increased concerns about the effect of agrochemicals on soil health and soil biodiversity, use of biological methods has become most acceptable alternative methods for farmers to control soil pathogens during crop production. A study was therefore undertaken to determine the occurrence of nematode destroying fungi in Taita Taveta with the aim of isolating and characterizing them for biological control of plant parasitic nematodes. Twenty eight fungal isolates, distributed in three genera, were identified as nematode destroying fungi from all the positive soil samples. Out of the isolates that were identified, 71, 25 and 4 % were in the genera Arthrobotrys, Monacrosporium and Nematoctonus respectively. Arthrobotrys oligospora had an occurrence frequency of 42.9% which was the highest followed by A. dactyloides, M.cionopagum, Monacrosporium sp and Nematoctonus sp with frequencies of 28.6, 17.9 and 7.1and 3.6% respectively. The occurrence of nematode destroying fungi was affected by land use and organic inputs (P ≤ 0.05) while it was not affected by crop rotation (P ≥ 0.05). Napier land use was more diverse than the other land uses with a mean shannon diversity index of 0.717 followed by horticulture (index 0.497). Maize /bean, coffee/beans, fallow and shrub land uses had a mean shannon index of 0. The same trend was observed on richness where napier had a mean richness of 2.2, horticulture 1.8, maize bean 1 while shrub, fallow and coffee/ beans all had mean richness of 0.2. A.oligospora was the most frequently isolated fungi (42.9 %) and showed high potential in biocontrol of plant-parasitic nematodes and was recommended for further studies and development as a biological control agent