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Suppression of plant parasitic nematode and arthropod pests by vermicompost 'teas


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Greenhouse trials show that solid vermicomposts can suppress plant parasitic nematodes in the field. In the demonstration, tomato plants were intentionally infested with Meloidogyne hapla and treated with vermicompost or thermophilic compost teas. Vermicompost teas can suppress spider mite, mealy bug and aphid populations in the field. Water control, aerated thermophilic compost tea were applied to the plants which in turn was assessed for damages. It was showed that the suppression of aphids is particularly important since they are key vectors in the transmission of plant viruses. It was also shown that the sooner a tea is used after it is brewed, the more effective it is in influencing plant growth and suppressing diseases.
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BioCycle December 2007, Vol. 48, No. 12, p. 38
Greenhouse trials confirm that the sooner a tea is used after it is brewed, the more effective it
is in influencing plant growth and suppressing diseases.
Part II
Clive A. Edwards, Norman Q. Arancon, Eric Emerson and Ryan Pulliam
Clive A. Edwards, Norman Q. Arancon, Eric Emerson, and Ryan Pulliam
Soil Ecology Laboratory
The Ohio State University
Columbus, OH
The production and use of aqueous extracts of thermophilic composts and
vermicomposts, commonly termed ‘teas’, has expanded rapidly in the last 2-3 years,
particularly since there is now a range of commercial ‘tea brewing’ equipment available
that can produce large or small quantities of ‘teas’. Unfortunately, there are relatively
few published scientific studies which have reviewed the methods of production and uses
of compost or vermicompost ‘teas’, optimal dilutions or application rates.
These ‘teas’ have been used extensively, particularly by organic gardeners and farmers,
to promote plant growth by application to soils as drenches, and to suppress plant
diseases by soil or foliar sprays, and these uses are still increasing as their methods of
application and effectiveness is gradually being established.
Research in our laboratory has shown clearly that some form of agitation or aeration
during production of vermicompost ‘teas’ is necessary, if the ‘teas’ are to be effective in
promoting crop growth and suppressing pests and diseases. We have research under way
into the ‘shelf-life’ of vermicompost ‘teas’ under different temperatures and in a range of
containers. We have demonstrated the transport of microbial activity and diversity, key
nutrients, and enzymatic activity from solid vermicomposts into ‘teas’. Additionally, all
our experience of the use of ‘teas’ in greenhouse trials has confirmed that the sooner a
vermicompost ‘tea’ is used after it is ‘brewed’, the more effective it is in influencing
plant growth and in suppressing pests and diseases. We have tested vermicompost ‘teas’
extracted from vermicomposts, that were produced from a range of animal manures such
as pig or cattle wastes, as well as paper and food wastes, and all have been effective in
promoting plant growth and disease suppression, independent of nutrient supply. After
many laboratory and greenhouse trials, we decided that the optimal quantities of solid
vermicomposts to water ratios were: 1:5 (20%), 1:10 (10%) and 1:20 (5%).
We have demonstrated clearly that solid vermicomposts can suppress plant parasitic
nematodes in the field (Arancon et al, 2003). Our experiments on the effects of
vermicompost ‘teas’ on nematodes were in the laboratory and greenhouse, in soils that
had been artificially infested with the root knot of nematode (Meloidogyne incognita),
which is a very serious pest of a wide range of crops all over the world. Six-week-old
tomato seedlings were transplanted into 10 cm diameter pots containing a sand:loam (1:3)
soil mixture to which the test ‘tea’ treatments were applied. Drench treatments of ‘teas’
were applied at seedling transplanting, and every two weeks thereafter. One week after
transplanting 10,000 Meloidogyne hapla eggs were added to each plant pot in suspension
in tap water. The eggs were collected from cultures maintained on infested tomato
plants. Each treatment was replicated four times. Pots into which tomato plants had been
transplanted were arranged on benches in a completely randomized design and the
greenhouse was maintained at 25˚ C. Plants were watered regularly with tempered line
water. Thirty days after infestation with nematodes, soil was removed from the pots and
the roots were washed to assess the extent of root damage and the numbers of root knots.
The washed roots were rated for numbers of root knot galls and the numbers of galls per
unit wet weight of roots counted. The effects of the nematodes on plant height were
determined by growth measurements, including heights, leaf areas, fresh and the dry
weights of leaves from plant tops and the dry weights of all above-ground tissues at the
end of the experiment.
Figure 1. A comparison of tomato plants infested with Meloidogyne hapla and
treated with vermicompost or thermophilic compost ‘teas’. Plants were grown in
MM360 with all needed nutrients supplied.
The relative growth of the tomato plants in response to the nematode infestations after 30
days, are illustrated in Figure 1. The differences in growth between treatments, in
response to the vermicompost ‘teaswere spectacular, and the reductions in numbers of
root knot galls on the tomato roots in response to the vermicompost ‘tea’ applications was
considerable (Figures 2 and 3). These effects of vermicompost ‘teas’ on plant parasitic
nematode attacks were very similar to those in experiments that used solid vermicompost
substituted into Metro-Mix 360 in the greenhouse (Arancon et al 2003).
Figure 2. Numbers of galls of Meloidogyne hapla on the roots of tomato plants
grown in soil treated with different dilutions of aerated vermicompost and compost
Control Thermophilic
Compost Tea
5% Vermicompost
10% Vermicompost
galls/g root
Figure 3. The roots of tomato plants infested with Meloidogyne hapla and treated
with 5%, 10%, 20% aerated vermicompost ‘teas’ or 20% thermophilic compost
‘tea’ compared with those treated with only water (control).
We have shown that solid vermicomposts can suppress spider mite, mealy bug, and aphid
populations in the field (Arancon et al 2007). For our preliminary experiments into the
suppression of arthropod pests by vermicompost ‘teas’, we chose two important groups
of plant pests, aphids, and spider mites. For the spider mite experiments, four tomato
plants were placed into each 0.2 mm mesh cage (40 cm x 30 cm x 30), and 100 two-
spotted spider mites (Tetranychus sp.) were released into each infested cage, with four
replicate cages for each treatment. The plants were treated with either water (control),
aerated thermophilic 20% compost ‘tea’, or aerated 5%, 10%, or 20% vermicompost
‘tea’, produced from food waste vermicompost. The damage to the plants in these cages
was assessed on a damage rating of 0 (no damage) to 5 (100% damage), eight days after
pests were introduced into the cages. There were four replicate cages with no spider mite
infestations, in order to assess any changes in leaf weights caused by the spider mite
Because spider mites are so small we did not count them, instead we assessed the
amounts of the distinct damage that they caused to the plants. All three soil application
rates of vermicompost ‘teas’ decreased the amounts of damage by the spider mites
compared with the water control significantly (P < 0.05). By comparison the traditional
thermophilic compost tea had no significant effect on the spider mite damage.
We used the same experimental protocol in experiments on aphids. In these experiments,
100 aphids (Myzus persicae) were released onto four tomato plants, in each of the cages
infected with aphids. A set of cages that had no aphid infestations was used to assess any
changes in leaf weights caused by the aphids. The numbers of aphids on each plant were
counted 13 days after infestation. The results are summarized in Figure 4. Clearly, all
three dilutions of aerated vermicompost ‘teas’ suppressed the aphid populations
significantly (P < 0.05) compared with the water control treatment whereas the aerated
thermophilic compost ‘tea’ had no significant effects on the aphid populations.
Figure 4. Numbers of aphids on tomato plants, 13 days after 100 aphids had been
released into each cage containing four tomato plants in separate pots. Plants were
grown in MM360 (with all needed nutrients supplied)
These results on the suppression of aphids and spider mites by vermicompost ‘teas’ were
very similar to those obtained from growing plants in the greenhouse in Metro Mix 360,
substituted with a range of solid vermicomposts (Arancon et al 2007). The suppression
of aphids is particularly important since they are key vectors in the transmission of plant
viruses. It seems clear that there is a good potential for suppression of arthropod pests by
both vermicomposts and vermicompost ‘teas’ using methods very acceptable to organic
growers and farmers.
Further Reading
Arancon, N.Q., Yardim, E., Edwards, C.A., Lee, S., 2003. The Trophic diversity of
nematode communities in soils treated with vermicomposts. Pedobiologia 47, 736-740.
Number of Aphids/plant
Arancon, N.Q., Edwards, C.A., Oliver, T.J., Byrne, R.J. 2007 Suppression of two-spotted
spider mite (Tetranychus urticae), mealy bugs (Pseudococcus) and aphid (Myzus
persicae) populations and damage by vermicomposts. Crop Protection 26, 26-39.
... The difficult-to-measure risks of chemical control have forced the agriculturists to find effective ecofriendly alternatives to mitigate pest-related problems in plants. Use of vermicompost (Vcom) and its products is gaining popularity these days for promoting growth and health of plants and for enhancing their immunity to soil-borne pathogens (Edwards et al., 2007;Munoz-Ucros et al., 2020;Gudeta et al., 2021). Vcom is a nutrient-rich supplement produced by the complex interaction between microorganisms and earthworms during vermicomposting . ...
... The combination of Vcom + Vcom-L was found to be more effective than Vcom alone in stimulating the growth of the seedlings while 1:2 Vcom-L in combination with 60% Vcom was observed to be most potent in promoting the growth of infected seedlings. Leaf and root growth of 100% Vcom + Vcom-L seedlings was accompanied with more accumulation of biomass (19-fold) and no root galling that indicate the potential of this combination in developing strength in plants to fight nematode invasion or if invaded, inhibiting nematode feeding and growth (Edwards et al., 2007). Similarly, Xiao et al. (2016) also found an increase in growth, biomass, C:N ratio and phenolics in M. incognita infected tomato plants along with reduced root galling after vermicompost application. ...
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Roots of Withania somnifera, an important medicinal herb, are prone to the infection of Meloidogyne incognita (a root parasitic nematode). The infection lowers the quality and quantity of plant material and poses a challenge in crop cultivation and obtaining desirable yield. In the present study, in vitro inhibitory activity of vermicompost leachate (Vcom-L) was assessed against % hatch and survival of M. incognita in a 96 h assay. Then, Vcom-L was used as soil supplement in combination with vermicompost (Vcom) to evaluate their nematode inhibitory and stress alleviating effect in W. somnifera, in a pot experiment. Root galling intensity and growth performance of nematode-stressed W. somnifera raised from seeds pre-soaked in distilled water (DW), Vcom-L, vermicompost tea (Vcom-T) and different dilutions of Vcom-L were assessed. We observed 79% suppression of egg hatching and 89% juvenile (J2) mortality after 96 h compared to control, at 100% concentration of Vcom-L. Significant reduction in gall formation with increase in growth parameters of seedlings was observed after combined application of Vcom (60% or 100%) + Vcom-L and was evident as enhancement in seedling biomass and contents of chlorophyll and protein. However, proline, total phenolics and malondialdehyde (MDA) content declined significantly in these combinations compared to the control (0% Vcom). Activity of superoxide dismutase (SOD), catalase (CAT), ascorbate peroxidise (APX), guaiacol peroxidise (GPX) and glutathione reductase (GR) declined with Vcom as well as Vcom + Vcom-L and corresponded with decline in the accumulation of reactive oxygen species in leaves. Further, 1:5 and 1:10 dilutions of Vcom-L in combination with Vcom (60%) proved beneficial in mitigating the nematode-induced stress in W. somnifera. Present results showed the potential of Vcom and Vcom-L in standardised combination as an effective strategy in controlling the pathogenicity of M. incognita in medicinal plants such as W. somnifera.
... Nowadays, cultivators have developed vermicompost (VC) aqueous extracts which are commonly called vermicompost' there are' which can improve crop tolerance to disease, and plant growth and are much more easily applied to soils and plants [2]. Vermicompost is much better than traditional thermophilic compost than microbial productivity and development [3]. while microbial organic matter can biochemically deteriorate, earthworms are significant derivatives to the process, reinforce the substratum and switch biological functions [4]. ...
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Aims: To determine the performance of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) as applied with vermi tea as organic fertilizer Study design: The experimental design was a completely randomized block design. Place and Duration of Study: Southern Philippines Agribusiness and Marine and Aquatic School of Technology (SPAMAST) Institute of Agricultural Technology and Entrepreneurial Studies (IATES) Buhangin, Malita, Davao Occidental from October 2019 to January 2020. Methodology: Randomized Complete Block Design with five treatments and replicated three times as follows: Treatment 1 (Control), Treatment 2 (150 ml of vermin-tea/liter of water), Treatment 3 (200 ml of vermin-tea/liter of water), Treatment 4 (250 ml of vermin-tea/liter of water) and Treatment 5 (300 ml of vermin-tea/liter of water). Results: Results showed that there was a significant effect of vermi tea as organic fertilizer application of cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) in terms of weight of fruits harvested while there was no significant effect on the number of days to emergence, number of flowers per plant, length of fruits, the diameter of fruits, and number of fruits harvested was no significant effect. Conclusion: Based on the results, the application of vermi tea as organic fertilizer gives the best result only on the weight of fruit harvested where vermi tea as a source of Nitrogen, Phosphorous, and potassium has helped to develop cucumber (Cucumis sativus L.) fruits.
... When spread on field plots, vermicompost suppresses the populations of plant-parasitic nematodes and enhances the growth of nematodes that feed on fungi and bacteria; the population of plant-parasitic nematodes did not drop in control fields that were fertilized with inorganic fertilizer [1]. And vermicompost tea reduces the damage caused by cucumber beetles and tobacco hornworms [2]. ...
Nematodes serve as prey to many predatory or parasitic soil organisms. Sharing the environment with several higher invertebrates, plant-parasitic nematodes are exposed further to predation and parasitism. There are several antagonistic soil invertebrates such as earthworms, predaceous mites, collembolans, tardigrades, enchytraeids, turbellarians, etc., which show nematode biopesticidal properties; they may be investigated for their role in the management of plant parasitic nematodes. Although many aspects of predation by the soil invertebrates are insufficiently explained, but since they possess significant biocontrol traits, they may be tested as plant nematode biopesticides either alone or in the integrated nematode management programs. The future use of some of these soil invertebrates is possible due to their behavioral characteristics, better adaptability to changing environmental conditions, and voracious feeding habits. However, study on all aspects of their role as nematode biopesticides is required before their utilization as biological control agents.
Vermicomposting is a process that includes an enzymatic degradation of organic waste when it passes through worms’ gut and transforms it into valuable products such as worm meal, vermicompost tea, worm casting etc. Vermicompost acts as an organic fertilizer and biocontrol agent conquering many plant diseases caused by various pests including soil borne pathogens as well as other pests. Plants have a variety of pests that include various fungal species, arthropods and nematodes. In addition to the use of solid vermicompost for suppression of plant pests, liquid products of vermicompost such as extracts and tea have also been increasingly utilized during the last decade. Both forms of vermicompost have the potential of increasing crop productivity and protection in sustainable organic cropping systems. Application of liquid is mostly done in the form of foliar spray which can be directly sprayed on the plant parts or drenched into the soil. It is more effective as to protect plants from pests because liquid forms easily reach to targeted areas such as rhizosphere zone in the soil where most nematodes live in. Combined application of vermicompost and its liquid extracts has a synergistic effect to downgrade the infestation of pests such as nematodes, thrips, mites, thus increasing crop productivity. The present chapter focuses on the recent scientific achievements on comprehensive utilization of vermicompost and vermin products (both solid and liquid) towards management of crop pests.
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Root-knot nematodes (RKNs) (Meloidogynespp) is the most economically destructive species. A pot experiment was conducted to assess the suppressing potential of three vermicompost types of different plant residues origin on (RKNs) (Meloidogyne incognita) in tomato cultivar by inoculation in prepared soil. Three vermicompost types CD (Cow dung) alone; CD mixed with either Taro Leaves (TL) or Saw Dust (SD) as carbonaceous sources were prepared for this study. Results revealed an overall significant increase in RKNs infected plants growth parameters in the vermicompost (SD + CD and TL+ CD) inoculated soil. Whereas, markedly increments were observed in root, shoot length and number of lateral roots besides their marvelous effect on controlling the RKN infection and blocking it to be restricted to the outer layer of vascular bundle. Our findings elucidated that different plant wastes origin vermicompost types have noticeable effects on RKNs infected tomato plants. The applied vermicompost (CD with either SD or TL) is serving not only as bio-organic fertilizer but also as effective bio-controlling treatment for root-knot nematodes and has no negative effect on the environment.
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A vermicompost, produced commercially from food wastes, was tested for its capacity to suppress populations and damage to plants, by two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae), mealy bugs (Pseudococcus sp.) and aphids (Myzus persicae), in the greenhouse. A range of mixtures of food waste vermicompost and a soil-less bedding plant growth medium Metro-Mix 360 (MM360) was tested in cages (40cm × 40cm × 40cm) (0.2mm mesh aperture) into which known numbers of greenhouse-bred pests were released. The crops tested were cucumbers and tomatoes for mealy bugs, bush beans and eggplants for spider mites, and cabbages for aphids. In all experiments, four 10cm diameter pots, each containing one seedling, grown in the same MM360/vermicompost mixture were exposed to either 50 mealy bugs, 100 spider mites, or 100 aphids in cages, with each cage treatment replicated 4 times per treatment. The five growth mixtures tested were: (i) 100% MM360; (ii) 90% MM360 with 10% vermicompost; (iii) 80% MM360 with 20% vermicompost; (iv) 60% MM360 with 40% vermicompost; and (v) 20% MM360 with 80% vermicompost. Almost all of the mixtures containing vermicomposts suppressed the arthropod pest populations, and decreased pest damage significantly, compared with the MM360 controls. Not only did the vermicomposts make the plants less attractive to the pests, but they also had considerable effects on pest reproduction over time. The effects of the vermicompost substitutions tended to be least on spider mites, intermediate on mealy bugs, and greatest on aphids; however this may relate to the motility of the pests, as well as to the suppression potential of vermicomposts. Possible mechanisms for the suppression discussed include: the form of nitrogen available in the leaf tissues, the effects of vermicomposts on micronutrient availability, and the possible production of phenols, by the plants after applications of vermicomposts, making the tissues unpalatable.
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Summary The effects of vermicomposts on plant parasitic, fungivorous and baterivorous nematode populations were investigated in grape (Vitis vinifera) and strawberry (Fragaria ananasa) field crops. Commercially-produced vermicomposts derived from recycled paper, and supermarket food waste were applied to replicated plots at the rates of 2.5 t ha-1 or 5.0 t ha-1 for the grape crop and 5.0 t ha-1 or10 t ha-1 for the strawberry crops. All vermicompost treatments were supplemented with in- organic fertilizer to balance the initial availability of macronutrients especially N, to the crop in all plots. After extraction from soil samples in Baermann funnels, nematodes were identified to trophic levels under a stereomicroscope. Soils from all of the vermicompost-treated plots contained smaller populations of plant parasitic nematodes than soil from inorganic fertilizer-treated plots. Conversely, populations of fungivorous nematodes and to lesser extent bacterivorous nematodes in- creased in the vermicompost-treated plots in comparison with those in plots treated with inorganic fertilizers.