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Poultry litter compost for suppression of root-knot nematode on cacao plants

Meyer, Susan L. F., Orisajo, Samuel B., Chitwood, David J., Vinyard, Bryan T., Millner, Patricia D.
International Journal of Nematology 2011 v.21 no.2 pp. 153
Meloidogyne incognita, Theobroma cacao, centrifugation, compost extracts, composted manure, eggs, filtration, greenhouse experimentation, litter (bedding), nematicidal properties, nematode control, poultry housing, poultry manure, root-knot nematodes, seedlings, soaking, soil, soil amendments, vigor, wood shavings
Poultry litter (poultry manure mixed with the wood shavings that are used for bedding or for covering the soil floor in poultry housing units) compost was investigated as an amendment for suppressing populations of Meloidogyne incognita and increasing plant vigor. The greenhouse and laboratory studies were conducted with mature compost produced in a static aerated pile. Compost extract was prepared by steeping 100 g compost in 100 ml tap water and removing biomass with cheesecloth filtration followed by centrifugation. The supernatant was diluted 1:4 in water and sterile filtered and used as a 100% compost extract treatment. In microwell assays, M. incognita egg hatch and J2 activity were inhibited by all tested compost extract concentrations (25%, 50%, 75% and 100% extract), with > 90% inhibition in 100% compost extract after 3 and 7 day incubation periods. In greenhouse tests, cacao ‘Pound 7’ seedlings were transplanted into soil amended with compost. The five treatments were: 1) No poultry litter compost, no RKN; 2) No poultry litter compost, +RKN (5,000 eggs per pot); 3) 2.5% poultry litter compost (by volume), +RKN; 4) 5.0% poultry litter compost, +RKN; 5) 10.0% poultry litter compost, +RKN. Treatments (including nematodes) were placed into pots two weeks prior to seedling transplant. At harvest, stem height, stem fresh weight, and leaf fresh and dry weights were significantly greater with 5% and/or 10% compost amendment than with no compost. Stem girth in all compost treatments was greater than in controls without M. incognita. Compost treatments significantly decreased numbers of nematode eggs collected from pots at harvest; egg populations were suppressed by 35.1%, 14.6% and 72.5% in the 2.5%, 5.0% and 10.0% compost treatments, respectively. The results indicate that poultry litter compost amendments have potential for suppressing M. incognita populations on cacao seedlings and improving plant vigor.