Impact of land use on distribution and diversity of Fusarium species in Taita Taveta, Kenya
The effect of Land Use Types (LUTs) on distribution and diversity of Fusarium species in soil were evaluated in Taita Taveta district, Kenya. Soil samples were collected from sixty points across a land use gradient covering six different LUTs, at 0 to 10 and 10 to 20 cm soil depths. Using Fusarium-selective media, a total of 1865 Fusarium isolates were recovered from the soil samples which resulted into 26 Fusarium species with Fusarium oxysporum and Fusarium solani being the dominant species in this area. Difference in Fusarium abundance, diversity and richness across the LUTs was significant (P<0.001) with horticulture being the richest and the most diverse LUT. The top soil layer had significantly higher Fusarium abundance and richness (P<0.05). A Principal Component Analysis (PCA) based on the relative Fusarium species abundance differentiated the LUTs with 79.69 %. There were significant positive correlation between P and pH levels with Fusaria abundance, richness and diversity (P<0.001). Abundance and diversity of Fusarium was also positively correlated with soil Mg and K (P<0.05). However, a significant negative correlation between exchangeable acidity and abundance (r=-0.605), richness (r=-1.317) and diversity (r=-0.16) was observed (P<0.05). Negative correlation was also observed between Nitrogen and richness (r=-2.94) and diversity (r=-0.67) of Fusarium species.