Effect of Short-Chain Fatty Acids and Soil Atmosphere on Tylenchorhynchus spp.


  • Claire F. McElderry
  • Marsha Browning
  • Jose A. Amador


butyric acid, carbon mineralization, fatty acid, nematicide, nematodes, propionic acid, tylenchorhynchus spp.


Short-chain fatty acids can be produced under anaerobic conditions by fermentative soil microbes and have nematicidal properties. We evaluated the effects of butyric and propionic acids on death and recovery of stunt nematodes (Tylenchorhynchus spp.), a common parasite of turfgrass. Nematodes in a sand-soil mix (80:20) were treated with butyric or propionic acid and incubated under air or N[sub2] for 7 days at 25 ºC. Amendment of soil with 0.1 and 1.0 µmol (8.8 and 88 µg) butyric acid/g soil or 1.0 µmol (74 µg) propionic acid/g soil resulted in the death of all nematodes. The composition of the soil atmosphere had no effect on the nematicidal activity of the acids. Addition of hydrochloric acid to adjust soil pH to 4.4 and 3.5 resulted in nematode mortality relative to controls (41% to 86%) but to a lesser degree than short-chain fatty acids at the same pH. Nematodes did not recover after a 28-day period following addition of 10 µmol butyric acid/g soil under air or N[sub2]. Carbon mineralization decreased during this period, whereas levels of inorganic N and microbial biomass-N remained constant. Short-chain fatty acids appear to be effective in killing Tylenchorhynchus spp. independent of atmospheric composition. Nematode mortality appears to be a function of the type and concentration of fatty acid and soil pH.