Population dynamics of plant parasitic nematodes and their relationships with soil physico-chemical parameters during the fallow period after sugarbeet and leading into tomato cultivation


  • P. Barbosa
  • H. Adao
  • M. Mota


The main objective of this research was the study of the soil nematode community, and in particular plant parasitic nematodes (PPN), from a field located in Portugal’s southern region, used for sugarbeet production. The study was performed from February to July 2003, covering part of the fallow period previous to tomato cultivation, the alternative crop in the rotation. The end of the fallow period in March and the soil preparation period in May were marked by a significant reduction in the numbers of PPN, whereas their numbers increased on the following tomato crop. The genus Helicotylenchus stood out as the most representative group, forming 90% of all PPN counted each month. The genus Heterodera was relatively abundant in the months following the previous sugarbeet crop, and numbers of the genus Meloidogyne increased during the tomato crop. The correlations between these groups and environmental parameters show that, apart from the direct influence of the host, pH, organic matter, temperature and soil moisture significantly influenced nematode abundance and community composition.