SOIL MICROARTHROPODS (PRIMARILY springtails and mites) are integral components of the decomposer subsystem, but are essentially unstudied in Australian sugarcane soils. Many of these tiny arthropods are beneficial, as they help regulate the rate of decomposition and nutrient cycling through their feeding processes and by dispersing microbial propagules. Some are also known to feed on nematodes, including those that are significant pests of crops. Herein we review what is known about nematophagous soil microarthropods and present preliminary results from a survey of mineral soil in Queensland cane fields. Densities ranged from 89-529 per 600 mL soil and were dominated by springtails and oribatid mites, indicating a fungus-dominated system. Additionally, about two dozen species of predatory mesostigmatic mites were identified, including many that are known to feed on nematodes. We conclude that sugarcane soils contain a soil microarthropod community with the potential to contribute to the suppression of nematode pests.
37th Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists (ASSCT) Conference, Bundaberg, Australia 28-30 April 2015
Proceedings of the Australian Society of Sugar Cane Technologists / Bruce R.C (ed): pp.212-217