Chitin has been chemically extracted from the Egyptian shrimp shell waste. The obtained chitin was transformed into the more soluble chitosan. Chitin and chitosan were characterized using Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy and proton nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometry. These products were also characterized by their nematicidal potential against the root-knot nematode, Meloidogyne incognita, infecting tomato in a glasshouse. Chitin or chitosan was incorporated into the soil at the rate of 1, 3, 5, and 1 g/kg, and their nematicidal activity was compared with that of the synthetic nematicide oxamyl at the rate of .1 g a.i./kg. The effects of the treatments on the growth of tomato were also examined. The obtained results show that chitin and chitosan reduced tomato root galls and J2 of M. incognita in the soil in a dose-dependent manner. Chitosan was more effective in the reduction of galls and J2 in the soil than chitin. However, the efficacy of chitin and chitosan in reducing the number of J2 in the soil was less than that of oxamyl. As compared to the untreated inoculated plants, the length of shoots and roots was significantly (p ≤ .5) increased in soil amended with either chitin or chitosan, whereas both treatments did not significantly (p > .5) differ with respect to the inoculated control on the effect on the dry weight of shoot and root systems. Furthermore, neither chitin nor chitosan treatments at the tested rates were phytotoxic to tomato plants.
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