Contribution of the endogeic earthworm species Aporrectodea caliginosa on the degradation of deoxynivalenol and Fusarium-biomass in wheat straw
In arable fields managed by conservation tillage combined with crop residue mulching, plant pathogen repression is an important ecosystem service to prevent cultivated plants from fungal diseases and mycotoxin contamination. A laboratory microcosm study was conducted to investigate the contribution of the endogeic, geophagous earthworm species Aporrectodea caliginosa as a secondary decomposer to the reduction of the phytopathogenic fungus Fusarium culmorum and its mycotoxin deoxynivalenol (DON) in wheat straw residues. After 5 weeks experimental time, the Fusarium biomass and the DON concentration in aboveground straw were reduced considerably to the same extent both in presence and absence of A. caliginosa. Another substantial reduction of Fusarium biomass and DON concentration was found in belowground straw, which A. caliginosa had buried into the soil. Thus, we conclude that the particular contribution of secondary decomposers like A. caliginosa to the degradation of phytopathogenic fungi like Fusarium species and their mycotoxins like DON in the soil systems has to be assessed as minor.
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