Effects of Nematophagous Fungi on Numbers and Death Rates of Bacterivorous Nematodes in Arable Soil


  • L. A. Bouwman
  • G. H. J. Hoenderboom
  • K. J. van der Maas
  • P. C. de Ruiter


In a series of microcosm experiments with an arable, sandy loam soil amended with sugarbeet leaf, the short-term (8 weeks) dynamics of numbers of nematodes were measured in untreated soil and in[gamma]-irradiated soil inoculated with either a field population of soil microorganisms and nematodes or a mixed population of laboratory-propagated bacterivorous nematode species. Sugarbeet leaf stimulated an increase in bacterivorous Rhabditidae, Cephalobidae, and a lab-cultivated Panagrolaimus sp. Differences were observed between the growth rates of the nematode population in untreated and[gamma]-irradiated soils, which were caused by two nematophagous fungi, Arthrobotrys oligospora and Dactylaria sp. These fungi lowered the increase in nematode numbers due to the organic enrichment in the untreated soil. We estimated the annually produced bacterivous nematodes to consume 50 kg carbon and 10 kg nitrogen per ha, per year, in the upper, plowed 25 cm of arable soil. Key words: Acrobeloides, Arthrobotrys, bacterivorous nematode, carbon-nitrogen flow, Dactylaria, nematode, nematophagous fungus, organic amendment, Panagrolaimus, population dynamics, Rhabditis, soil ecology.