Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill.) is one of the most popular, widely grown and the second most important vegetable crop, after potatoes. Nematodes have been identified as one of the major pests affecting tomato production throughout the world. The most destructive nematodes are the genus Meloidogyne. Most widespread and devastating species of this genus are M. incognita, M. javanica, and M. arenaria. These species can cause complete crop loss under adverse growing conditions. There are several potential methods for management of the root knot nematodes. Although the chemicals are widely used against the phytonematodes, because of hazardous effects of these compounds on non-target organisms and on the environment, there is a need to develop other control strategies. Nowadays, non-chemical measures are widely used to control the plant parasitic nematodes. Biocontrol of phytonematodes is an important method among environment-friendly measures of nematode management. There are some soil-inhabiting fungi that have biocontrol potential on phytonematodes, which can be used in nematode management program. The fungus Metarhizium anisopliae, originally is an entomopathogenic bioagent. Biocontrol potential of this fungus on some phytonematodes has been reported earlier. Recently, use of organic soil amendments as well as the use of bioagents is under special attention in sustainable agriculture. This research aimed to reduce the pesticide use in control of root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne javanica in tomato. The effects of M. anisopliae IMI 330189 and different levels of oak tree debris on M. javanica were determined. The combination effect of the fungus as well as the different rates of soil amendments was determined. Pots were filled with steam pasteurized soil mixture and the six leaf tomato seedlings were inoculated with 3000 second stage larvae of M. javanica/kg of soil. After eight weeks, plant growth parameters and nematode reproduction factors were compared. Based on the results of our experiment, combination of M. anisopliae IMI 330189 and oak debris caused more than 90% reduction in reproduction factor of nematode, at the rates of 100 and 150 g/kg soil (P ≤ 0.05). As compared to control, the reduction in number of galls was 76%. It was 86% for nematode reproduction factor, showing the significance of combined effect of both tested agents. Our results showed that plant debris can increase the biological activity of the tested bioagent. It was also proved that there was no adverse effect of oak debris, which potentially has antimicrobial activity, on antagonistic power of applied bioagent.
Biomass such as corn and cassava wastes if left to decay will release significant quantities of greenhouse gases (GHG) including carbon dioxide and methane. The biomass wastes can be converted into biochar via thermochemical process such as slow pyrolysis. This approach can reduce the biomass wastes as well as preserve its carbon content. Biochar has the potential to be used as a carbon sequester and soil amendment. The aim of this study is to investigate the characteristics of the corn cob, cassava stem, and cassava rhizome in order to identify their potential as pyrolysis feedstocks for biochar production. This was achieved by using the proximate and elemental analyses as well as calorific value and lignocellulosic determination. The second objective is to investigate the effect of pyrolysis temperature on the biochar produced. A fixed bed slow pyrolysis reactor was used to pyrolyze the corn cob, cassava stem, and cassava rhizome. The pyrolysis temperatures were varied between 400 °C and 600 °C, while the heating rate and the holding time were fixed at 5 °C/min and 1 hour, respectively. Corn cob, cassava stem, and cassava rhizome were found to be suitable feedstocks for pyrolysis process because they contained a high percentage of volatile matter more than 80 mf wt.%. All the three feedstocks contained low nitrogen and sulphur content less than 1 mf wt.%. Therefore, during the pyrolysis process, the feedstocks give off very low rate of GHG such as nitrogen oxides and sulphur oxides. Independent of the types of biomass, the percentage of biochar yield is inversely proportional to the pyrolysis temperature. The highest biochar yield for each studied temperature is from slow pyrolysis of cassava rhizome as the feedstock contained the highest percentage of ash compared to the other two feedstocks. The percentage of fixed carbon in all the biochars increased as the pyrolysis temperature increased. The increment of pyrolysis temperature from 400 °C to 600 °C increased the fixed carbon of corn cob biochar, cassava stem biochar and cassava rhizome biochar by 26.35%, 10.98%, and 6.20% respectively. Irrespective of the pyrolysis temperature, all the biochars produced were found to contain more than 60 mf wt.% fixed carbon content, much higher than its feedstocks.