Parasitic and Saprophytic Abilities of the Nematode-Attacking Fungus Hirsutella rhossiliensis


  • B. A. Jaffee
  • E. I. Zehr


The ability of Hirsutella rhossiliensis to colonize various substrates in sterile and nonsterile soil was measured. Hirsutella rhossiliensis was recovered from 67% and 77% of living, inoculated Criconemella xenoplax incubated in sterile and nonsterile soil, respectively. In contrast, the fungus was recovered from 100% and 18% of heat-killed, inoculated nematodes incubated on sterile and nonsterile soil, respectively. Hirsutella rhossiliensis was readily recovered from inoculated, autoclaved wheat seeds incubated in sterile soil but not from seeds incubated in nonsterile soil. Autoclaved peach roots were a poor substrate for the fungus. Germination of H. rhossiliensis spores incubated on agar disks above soil was about 90% regardless of soil treatment. However, germ tube length was greatly suppressed by nonsterile soil. Our results suggest that H. rhossiliensis is a better parasite than saprophyte and that the fungus may be specialized for attacking nematodes. Key words: biological control, Criconemella xenoplax, Arthrobotrys oligospora.