Use of nematode destroying fungi as indicators of land disturbance in Taita Taveta, Kenya
Wachira, Peter M.
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This study was undertaken to determine whether nematode destroying fungi can be used as indicators of soil disturbances. Soil samples were collected from an indigenous forest, maize/bean, napier grass, shrub and vegetable fields, which represented the main land use types in Taita Taveta district of Kenya. The fungal isolates obtained were grouped into seven genera and identified. The species identified were, Acrostalagums obovatus, Arthrobotrys dactyloides, Arthrobotrys oligospora, Arthrobotrys superba, Dactyllela lobata, Haptoglosa heterospora, Harposporium anguillulae, Harposporium.sp, Monacrosporium cionopagum and Nematoctonous georgenious. Occurrence of nematode destroying fungi was significantly (P = 3.81 x 10 -7) different among the land use systems in the study area. Out of the isolates that were positively identified, 33.7 %, 27.9 %, 20.9 %, 11.6 % and 5.8 % were from fields under vegetable, maize/bean, napier grass, shrub and forest, respectively. Soil disturbance accounted for the highest occurrence of nematode destroying fungi (60.77 %) while moisture, accounted for 23.35%. Fungal isolates from vegetable gardens were most diverse while soils from the forest were most even with least diversity. The total richness of nematode destroying fungi was nine, seven, six, and three in maize bean, napier, shrub and forest habitats respectively. This study has established that nematode destroying fungi increases with increased land disturbance