Interactions between nematodes and microbial communities in a tropical soil following manipulation of the soil food web

C. Villenave, K. Ekschmitt, S. Nazaret, A.M.T. Bongers

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37 Citations (Scopus)


The carrying capacity for microflora and nematofauna was manipulated (using a bactericide, a fungicide, manure or a growing millet plant) in a poor tropical soil, in order to identify relationships between the soil microbes and nematodes and to assess the influences of these organisms on nitrogen flux. The experiment was conducted for 4 months in containers under greenhouse conditions, with analyses of soil, nematofauna and microbial characteristics at regular intervals. Manure input and initial bactericide application led to a significant increase in bacterial-feeding and fungal-feeding nematodes of coloniser-persister classes 1 and 2, respectively, whereas high manure input stimulated omnivorous nematodes (i.e. Microdorylaimus rapsus) which became the dominant trophic group. Changes in abundance of the different bacterial-feeding nematode taxa between treatments seemed to be more related to changes in the structure of the microbial communities than to the total amount of micro-organisms, as suggested by the RISA fingerprint analysis of the bacterial communities. Canonical analysis of nematode feeding guilds, combined with soil microbial and mineral nitrogen parameters as well as multiple regression showed that the bacterial-feeding nematodes influenced the inorganic N content in the soil whereas microbial biomass was determined by total nematode abundance and not by any specific trophic group. (C) 2004 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2033-2043
JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • bacterial-feeding nematodes
  • maturity index
  • nitrogen
  • biomass
  • growth
  • agroecosystems
  • indicators
  • animals

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