Nematicidal and fertilizing effects of chicken manure, fresh and composted olive mill wastes on organic melon

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Abstract

The fertilizing and nematicidal effects of three organic amendments were evaluated in a pot experiment on melon plants infested by the root-knot nematode Meloidogyne incognita. A soil artificially infested with 4 eggs and juveniles/ ml soil of the nematode was amended with: a) virgin olive pomace (VOP); b) composted olive pomace (COP); c) chicken manure based fertilizer (CM) and d) chicken manure based fertilizer combined with the biological control agent Paecilomyces lilacinus strain 251, brand name BioAct WG (CMB). VOP was applied at doses of 11 (VOP-A), 22 (VOP-B) and 44 t/ha (VOP-C); COP at 4.5 (COP-A), 9 (COP-B) and 18 t/ha (COP-C); CM at 3 t/ha and CMB at 3 t/ha combined with 4 kg/ha of BioAct WG. Untreated soil was used as control. The treatments CM, CMB, VOP-B and COP-B were established on the basis of N requirement of melon plants (120 kg/ha) taking into account soil and amendments N availability. Two weeks later amendment application and nematode inoculation, the soil was poured in 4.8 l clay pots which were arranged in a greenhouse according to a randomized block design with ten replications for each treatment. A one-month old melon seedling (cv. Galia) was transplanted in each pot and organic farming management practices were used during the growing period. At the end of the experiment, 60 days after transplant, plants were uprooted and height, fresh and dry shoot and root weights were recorded. Root gall index, on the roots, caused by the nematode attack, was estimated according to a 0–5 scale. Final nematode population density and reproduction rate were also calculated for each pot. All data were subjected to statistical analysis of variance (ANOVA) and means compared according to Least Significant Difference’s Test. Nematode population and root infestation were significantly suppressed by the addition of all amendments, compared to untreated control. However, CM and CMB resulted in a total more suppressive effect and in a significantly higher plant growth in comparison to all the other treatments. A significant correlation was found between root gall index and eggs and juveniles/g root and final nematode population density. No signifycant correlations were found between nematological parameters or plant growth parameters and amendment doses.

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