ISSN: 1659-2751

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Evaluation of Free-living Nematodes as Indicators of Soil Quality in Three Banana Production Systems

Abstract

In this study the diversity and abundance of in three different banana productions systems: conventional, organic banana with legumes and organic banana with legumes and fruit crops was assessed. In addition, a comparison was made between the population of plant parasitic nematodes and free-living nematodes. The free-living nematodes were extracted from 250 g of soil and the extraction of plant parasitic nematodes from 25 g of functional roots. The conventional banana system has statistically significantly low populations of free-living nematodes and high populations of plant parasitic nematodes. Radopholus similis was the predominant plant parasitic nematode collected from the conventional system whereas the organic production systems had higher populations of Helicotylenchus multicinctus and Meloidogyne spp. The majority of free-living nematodes in the organic banana systems were the beneficial Mononchus sp. and Dorylaimidae. Pertaining to the root health, the organic productions systems had a lower necrotic index whereas the conventional system had more root damage and thicker root diameter.

Key words: banana, plant parasitic nematode, trophic group, free-living nematodes, Radopholus similis, root health, banana production systems.

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