Plant parasitic nematode assemblages associated with sweet potato in Kenya and their relationship with environmental variables
Karuri, Hannah W.
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Sweet potato is one of the most important staple food crops consumed in Kenya and throughout Africa but yields are greatly reduced by plant parasitic nematodes (PPN). The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence of PPN in Kenyan sweet potato fields and their relationship with soil and climatic variables. Soil samples were collected from sweet potato fields in Busia, Teso, Kisii, Embu and Makueni counties. Thirteen nematode genera were identified across the five counties with Meloidogyne, Pratylenchus and Rotylenchus being the most prevalent. There was a significant (P <0.05) relationship between PPN abundance and sodium, calcium and iron. Canonical correspondence analysis of climatic variables revealed that the relationship between rainfall and nematode genera was significant (P <0.05) while maximum and minimum temperatures were not significant. This description of PPN assemblages associated with sweet potato in Kenya and their relationship with environmental variables provides a starting point from which appropriate nematode management strategies can be implemented.