Plant-parasitic nematodes (PPN) are harmful pests that have become a severe threat to crop production worldwide. Diversity of PPN at horizontal and spatial scales influence the effectiveness of control strategies. This study evaluated the vertical distribution of PPN genera at 0 cm to 30 cm and 30 cm to 60 cm in sweet potato fields in Central, Manyatta, and Nembure regions of Embu County, Kenya. A significant region × depth interaction was observed for Tylenchus. For all the other nematode genera, there were no significant variations in the abundance at 0 cm to 30 cm and 30 cm to 60 cm depths. However, Helicotylenchus, Meloidogyne, and Scutellonema occurred in greater numbers at both depths in all regions. Shannon and Simpson diversity indices were higher at 0 cm to 30 cm depth while Pielou’s evenness was similar at both depths in the three regions. Diversity partitioning of genus richness, Shannon, and Simpson diversities across all regions at 0 cm to 30 cm, indicated that β component contributed 61.9%, 35.6%, and 22.6% of γ diversity, respectively. Coinertia analysis indicated a significant covariation between nematode genera and soil properties. The results show that management of PPN in sweet potato fields should be targeted at soil depths that are not less than 60 cm.

Publication timeframe:
Volume Open
Journal Subjects:
Life Sciences, other