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Phytopathology. 2006 Mar;96(3):226-33. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-96-0226.

Vertical Distribution of the Plant-Parasitic Nematode, Pratylenchus penetrans, Under Four Field Crops.


The vertical distribution of Pratylenchus penetrans was monitored in four fields cropped with maize, black salsify, carrot, or potato. Soil samples were collected at 21-day intervals from May 2002 until April 2003 from five plots (2 x 5 m(2)) per field. Per plot, 15 cores were taken to a depth of 70 cm and split into seven segments of 10 cm each. Within the plots, segments from corresponding depths were pooled. After mixing, 200-g subsamples were taken and nematodes were extracted by zonal centrifugation from the root fraction and the mineral soil fraction separately. In most crops, the root fraction contained more than 50% of the total number of P. penetrans. Because the ratio between the numbers of nematodes in the root fraction and mineral soil fraction changes during the growing season, numbers of P. penetrans found in the mineral soil fraction cannot be used to estimate the total number in the soil. Therefore, both fractions have to be processed to obtain a reliable estimate of the density. No nematodes were recovered below 50 cm soil depth, except in the maize field where nematodes were found at 70 cm. The optimum sampling depth for maize, black salsify, carrot, and potato was 45, 25, 25, and 35 cm, respectively. The percentage of nematodes per soil layer was independent of the sampling date, indicating that a defined optimum sampling depth will be applicable throughout all seasons. The cumulative vertical distribution, modeled with a logistic equation, can be used to estimate the sampling error when samples are collected at different depths.

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