Unravelling the mechanisms underlying health and productivity promoting agricultural practices by fine-mapping rhizosphere communities

Harkes, P. (Speaker), Afnan Suleiman (Contributor), van den Elsen, S. J. J. (Contributor), Eiko E. Kuramae (Contributor), Helder, J. (Contributor)

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentationOther


The impact of soil pathogens on crops has been studied for decades as if this was a multitude of bilateral interactions. For a long time, it has been realised that crops and soil-borne pathogens are interacting in a densely inhabited environment, the rhizosphere. A more versatile approach was hampered because of technical limitations: it was just impracticable to take major and highly diverse organismal groups such as bacteria, fungi and protists into consideration. Here we monitored the (plant-parasitic) nematode community in the rhizosphere of barley under three distinct soil management regimes, for two developmental stages of the crop, in two different locations. Total DNA and RNA was isolated from rhizosphere samples - 104 rhizosphere samples, for each sample DNA and cDNA was analysed separately - using home-made extraction and purification protocols. Targeted (ribosomal DNA) Illumina MiSeq sequencing was used to characterise the nematode, protist, fungal and bacterial community. First of all, very significant location effects were observed for all four organismal groups. Superimposed on the location effects, clear effects of organic, integrated and conventional soil management could be pinpointed. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first time four major key organismal groups players of the soil food web are simultaneously mapped in order to obtain insight in the effects of soil management practices on plant-parasitic nematodes taking a major part of the rhizobiome into consideration.
Period10 Sep 2018
Event titleESN Conference 2018
Event typeConference
LocationGhent, Belgium
Degree of RecognitionInternational