The motility and efficacy of Pseudomonas oryzihabitans as a biocontrol agent against the potato cyst nematode Globodera rostochiensis were studied with respect to temperature. The influence of soil moisture on bacterial movement was also tested. In a closed container trial, P. oryzihabitans significantly reduced invasion of second stage juveniles (J2) of G. rostochiensis in potato roots, its effect being more marked at 25 and 21 degreesC than at 17 degreesC. P. oryzihabitans motility in vitro was optimal at 26 degreesC and inhibited at temperatures below 18 degreesC. In soil, both temperature and matric potential affected bacterial movement. At 16 degreesC its movement and survival were suppressed, but they were unaffected at 25 degreesC. At both temperatures the biocontrol agent moved faster in the wetter (- 0.03 MPa) than in the drier soil (- 0.1 MPa). These results suggest that temperature is a key factor in determining the potential of P. or.yzihabitans as a biocontrol agent. (C) 2003 Elsevier Science Ltd. All rights reserved.