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Advances in soil-borne plant diseases by Rob Jenkins, C.K. Jain

By Rob Jenkins, C.K. Jain

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Water drags small material into these tunnels, which become the preferential paths for soil penetration for roots and leached clays. g. very small earthworms, slugs, insect larvae, and mesofauna. The fragmentation of dead wood (lignin material), carcass and litter is one of the most nnportcmt activities ,)f soil fauna. It has a major effect on organic matter evolution in soil, conditioning the activity of bacteria, fungi and microfauna populations. e. animals feeding on decayed plant material and dead animals).

The eggs, larvae and pupae of soil insects are liable to be affected either by the soil-inhabiting pathogens or their toxins. However, the absence of organic manures in the soil enables the above pests Lo thrive owing to the depletion of the natural biotic restricting factors. The increasing use of pesticides has also upset the balance of life in soil when they have been applied directly in the soil and by drip from the foliage. Their subsequent incorporation into soil can also reduce the natural enemies of soil insects.

They construct very large nests and their harvesting may lead to the incorporation of large amounts of organic matter and nutrients into the soil. In some locations, ants may have an important role in bioturbation and add their effects to those of other groups of soil macrofauna. Figure 3. Ant In agriculture, although generally seen as pests, ants may protect crop herbivores such as honeydew-secreting Homoptera or act directly as herbivores themselves. Their beneficial role as effective predators should also be noted.

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