Document Type : Research Article
College of Agriculture, Yasouj University, Yasouj, Iran
Introduction: Plant-parasitic nematodes cause significant yield losses in a wide range of crops. Root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) are the most important plant-parasitic nematodes, because they widely distributed all around the world and have wide host range. Chemical nematicide is one of the primary means of control for plant-parasitic nematodes. Due to negative impact of synthetic nematicides, it will be necessary to develop other management strategies for plant-parasitic nematodes which are safe for the environment and humans. Latest interest in organic farming lead to substitution for conventional nematicides by low-risk compounds such as natural products derived from plants. Also, biological control is an interesting option to control these nematodes. Effective microorganisms (EM®) consist of a mixture of live cultures of microorganisms such as photosynthetic bacteria, which they are reported to reduce the incidence of pathogenic microorganisms.
Materials and Methods: In the present study, the aerial parts of the marigold (Tagetes erecta) were collected from Shiraz, Iran. Marigold leaves dried in shade and finely grinded using an electric grinder and a stock solution (10% w/v) was prepared. Seeds of tomato (cv. Early-Urbana) were sown in plastic pots containing 1500 g of a sterilized mixture of farm soil (sandy loam soil) and cow manure. The pots were kept under greenhouse conditions with 16:8 h light to dark photoperiod and 27 ± 4 °C. Four-leaf stage seedlings were soil-drenched (50 ml per plant) with EM® or a mixture of equal amount of EM®+ marigold leaf extract at the rate of 5, 10, 15 and 20% and simultaneously inoculated with a suspension of M. javanica (6000 eggs per pot). The experiment was carried out in a completely randomized design with five replications. Sixty days after nematode inoculation, plants were harvested and the vegetative indices including shoots length, shoot fresh and dry weight and root fresh weight and the nematode population indices including the number of eggs as described by Hussey and Barker (1973), number of galls and egg masses per root system as described by Taylor and Sasser (1978) and the number of second stage juveniles (J2s) in the pot were recorded. Finally, the reproduction factor calculated as described by Sasser and Taylor (1978). Data were subjected to one-way analysis of variance (ANOVA) for plant growth parameters and two-way ANOVA for nematode population indices using SAS 9.1 program (Statistical Analysis System Institute Inc., USA). Treatment means were compared using least significance differences (LSD) at p<0.01.
Results and Discussion: Results showed that soil drenching of EM® and EM®+ marigold leaf extract increased the plant growth parameters on inoculated and non-inoculated plants as compared to control. The treatment with EM®+ marigold leaf extract at the rate of 20% was the most effective treatment and increased shoot length, shoot fresh weight and shoot dry weight of non-inoculated plants by 33, 39 and 11% respectively, as compared to non-inoculated control plants. In the case of inoculated plants, shoot length, shoot fresh weight, shoot dry weight and root fresh weight of treated plats with EM®+ marigold leaf extract at the rate of 20% were 34, 31, 15 and 11% higher than inoculated control plants. The number of eggs and egg masses per root system and the reproduction factor were significantly reduced in treated plants with EM®+ marigold leaf extract at the rate of 15 and 20%. EM®+ marigold leaf extract at the rate of 20% reduced the number of eggs, galls, egg masses per root system and the reproduction factor by 28, 40, 37 and 27% respectively, as compared to control. The lowest numbers of egg masses were observed in the root system of tomato plants treated with EM®+ marigold leaf extract at the rate of 20%. It had significant difference than other treatments, except EM® at the rate of 20%. These data for the first time in Iran, suggest that EM® might have utility in controlling root-knot nematodes. A mixture of EM® and marigold leaf extract was more effective than alone application of EM® for control of M. javanica. Findings from this study, suggest that a mixture of equal amount of EM® and marigold leaf extract at the rate of 20% reduced M. javanica reproduction rates in tomato plants grown in greenhouse.