Root knot nematodes (Meloidogyne spp.) are a serious problem in smallholder tomato farms causing 90-100% yield loss in tomato crop in Kenya. For sustainable food production, effective management of nematodes is primarily dependent on the application of chemical nematicides. Chemical nematicides though very effective are expensive and also environmentally unfriendly due to their residual toxicity and pollution of the environment. The aim of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of indigenous antagonistic fungi in management of Root Knot Nematodes (RKN). Soil and root samples were obtained from Kirinyaga County. Fungal isolates were isolated from healthy tomato roots and Meloidogyne eggs by direct plating techniques. Root Knot Nematodes inoculum was extracted by Baermann’s technique from soil and through root maceration method from heavily galled tomato roots. A total of 45 fungal isolates were isolated from tomato roots and RKN eggs. The fungal isolates were identified to belong to the various genera (Trichoderma, Fusarium, Paecilomyces, Aspergillus and Penicilium spp.). Some genera are yet to be clearly identified. Trichoderma spp. were the most prevalent (33.3%) followed by Fusarium spp. (28.9%). An experiment was conducted in the Kenyatta University agricultural laboratory with 45 treatments (isolates) replicated three times in a Completely Randomized Design. Data were subjected to Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) using SAS software and Means Separation done using Fisher’s Least Significance Difference (LSD) at 5% level of significance. The fungal isolates caused RKN juvenile mortality that was significantly higher than the control. The highest juvenile mortality was recorded with Trichoderma spp 13. (88.33%) followed by Paecilomyces spp. and Trichoderma spp 1. (86.67%) which was significantly different from the untreated (1.67%). The results of this study show that indigenous fungal isolates have the potential of controlling root knot nematodes in vitro.
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RUFORUM Working document series
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