Distribution of Pratylenchus scribneri between Root and Soil Habitats


  • A. E. MacGuidwin


The abundance ofPratylenchus scribneri in soil and root habitats was compared in potato and corn plots during 1986-88. Nematodes were extracted from 100-cm³ soil samples and the roots contained within the samples. The percentage of the population recovered from soil, similar among years and crops, averaged ca. 50% at the beginning and end of the growing season and ca. 20% from early to late season. Proportionately more adults and fourth-stage juveniles than younger stages were located outside roots until harvest. In a related study, nematodes were isolated from the roots, root surfaces, and soil associated with roots of whole corn and potato plants sampled from the field. Nematode population estimates calculated from the whole plant samples were generally lower than those based on soil cores, but showed similar patterns of population growth. Nematode density per gram dry weight was highest in roots, intermediate on root surfaces, and lowest in soil. Estimates of the absolute abundance of nematodes in each of the three habitats were highest in roots or soil, depending on the sampling date, and lowest on root surfaces. This study demonstrates that P. scribneri inhabits soil environments even when host roots are present and illustrates the importance of considering all possible habitats when estimating the size of Pratylenchus spp. populations. Key words: corn, population dynamics, potato, Pratylenchus, recovery efficiency, rhizosphere, sampling, Solarium tuberosum, Zea mays.