Evaluation of Paecilomyces lilacinus as a Biocontrol Agent of Meloidogyne javanica on Tobacco

  • T. E. Hewlett
  • D. W. Dickson
  • D. J. Mitchell
  • M. E. Kannwischer-Mitchell


The efficacy of the nematode parasite Paecilomyces lilacinus, alone and in combination with phenamiphos and ethoprop, for controlling the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne javanica on tobacco and the ability of this fungus to colonize in soil under field conditions were evaluated for 2 years in microplots. Combinations and individual treatments of the fungus grown on autoclaved wheat seed, M. javanica eggs (76,000 per plot), and nematicides were applied to specified microplots at the time of transplanting tobacco the first year. Vetch was planted as a winter cover crop, and the fungus and nematicides were applied again the second year to specified plots at transplanting time. The fungus did not control the nematode in either year of these experiments. The average root-gall index (0 = no visible galls and 5 = 100 galls per root system) ranged from 2.7 to 3.9 the first year and from 4.3 to 5.0 the second in nematode-infested plots treated with nematicides. Plants with M. javanica alone or in combination with P. lilacinus had galling indices of 5.0 both years; the latter produced lower yields than all other treatments during both years of the study. Nevertheless, the average soil population densities of P. lilacinus remained high, ranging from 1.2 to 1.3 × 106 propagules/g soil 1 week after the initial inoculation and from 1.6 to 2.3 × 104 propagules/g soil at harvest the second year. At harvest the second year the density of fungal propagules was greatest at the depth of inoculation, 15 cm, and rapidly decreased below this level. Key words: biocontrol, ethoprop, 1,3-dichloropropene, fenamiphos, fungal egg parasite, Meloidogyne javanica, nematicide, Nicotiana tabacum, Paecilomyces lilacinus, root-knot nematode, tobacco, vetch, Vicia vilIosa.