Feeding of the Nematode Acrobeloides nanus on Bacteria


  • Alan F. Bird
  • Maarten H. Ryder


Information on the effect of bacteria-feeding nematodes on bacterial populations in the soil is sparse. We have isolated, cultured, and microscopically examined bacteria and nematodes coexisting within an agricultural soil and have studied their feeding relationship. The bacterium Pseudomonas corrugata isolate 2140R is a biocontrol agent against the pathogenic fungus Gaeumannomyces graminis var. tritici. The nematode Acrobeloides nanus is a cosmopolitan, bacteria-feeding organism widespread in agricultural and arid soils throughout Australia. Using light and electron microscopy, we observed the ingestion and breakdown of P. corrugata in the pharynx of A. nanus and bacterial passage through the nematode intestine as well as the accumulation of fluorescent compounds from ingested and broken P. fluorescens in the lumen of the nematode's intestine. We also observed A. nanus feeding, growing, and reproducing on the Gram-positive bacterium Clavibacter toxicus, the causative agent of the disease annual ryegrass toxicity, and detected crushed bacteria in the nematode's intestine. Key words: Acrobeloides nanus, bacteria, biological control, Clavibacter toxicus, feeding, nematode, Pseudomonas corrugata, P. fluorescens, ultrastructure.