Effects of rhizosphere bacteria (RB), and rhizosphere bacteria with bacteria-feeding nematodes (RBN), on the composition of root exudate were examined after 2 weeks in gnotobiotic culture systems with rape seedlings (Brassica napus (L.)). The amounts of low molecular weight carbohydrates and of some free amino acids, per unit root dry weight, in the exudates were lower in the RB and RBN treatments than in the axenic control (R treatment). The growth of nematodes implied a production of bacterial cells in the RBN treatment 2.6 times that in the RB treatment. The bacterial growth in the RB treatment and the bacterial growth in combination with grazing by nematodes in the RBN treatment implied 24 and 63 times as much exudation of organic carbon, respectively, as in the R treatment.
Most bacteria were attached to sand particles. The nematodes being suspension-feeders, decreased the proportion of free bacteria from 6% in the RB treatment to 2% in the RBN treatment. The numbers of attached bacteria in the RBN treratment were positively correlated with the numbers of nematodes, indicating stimulation of bacterial growth by the grazing.