Decomposition of Plant Debris by the Nematophagous Fungus ARF


  • Kening Wang
  • R. D. Riggs
  • Devany Crippen


arf, decompose, heterodera glycines, nematophagous fungus, plant debris, soybean cyst nematode


In the study of the biological control of plant-parasitic nematodes, knowledge of the saprophytic ability of a nematophagous fungus is necessary to understand its establishment and survival in the soil. The objectives of this study were (i) to determine if the nematophagous fungus ARF (Arkansas Fungus) shows differential use of plant residues; and (ii) to determine if ARF still existed in the soil of a field in which ARF was found originally and in which the population level of Heterodera glycines had remained very low, despite 15 years of continuous, susceptible soybean. Laboratory studies of the decomposition of wheat straw or soybean root by ARF were conducted in two separate experiments, using a CO[sub2] collection apparatus, where CO[sub2]-free air was passed through sterilized cotton to remove the microorganisms in the air and then was passed over the samples, and evolved CO[sub2] was trapped by KOH. Milligrams of C as CO[sub2] was used to calculate the percentage decomposition of the plant debris by ARF. Data indicated ARF decomposed 11.7% of total organic carbon of the wheat straw and 20.1% of the soybean roots in 6 weeks. In the field soil study, 21 soil samples were taken randomly from the field. Only 3 months after the infestation of the soil with H. glycines, the percentage of parasitized eggs of H. glycines reached 64 ± 19%, and ARF was isolated from most parasitized eggs of H. glycines. Research results indicated ARF could use plant residues to survive.