Anhydrobiotic Coiling of Nematodes in Soil

Y. Demeure, D. W. Freckman, S. D. Van Gundy


Nematodes of three genera (Acrobeloides sp., Aphelenchus avenae, and Scutellonema brachyurum) were induced to coil and enter anhydrobiosis in drying soil of two types: sandy loam and loamy sand. Coiling was studied in relationship to soil moisture characteristics. Coiling and the physiological state of anhydrobiosis occurred before the water in sandy soils reached a water potential of -15 bars. Coiling was maximum at 3-6 bars, depending on the soil type and nematode species. It appeared that induction of coiling and anhydrohiosis were determined by the physical forces exerted by the water film surrounding the nematode, which, for these three species, was 6-9 monomolecular layers of water, rather than the % moisture and relative humidity of the soil per se. Key Words: anhydrobiosis, Aphelenchus avenae, Acrobeloides, Scutellonema brachyururn, soil moisture, survival, monomolecular layers of water.

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