A practical and low cost microbiotest to assess the phytotoxic potential of growing media and soil

C. Blok, G. Persoone, G. Wever

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

    18 Citations (Scopus)


    For routine toxicity testing of composts and growing media, two different types of assays are usually applied. One approach is the use of growing trials in pots with various mixtures of the material. In extract-based tests, seeds are germinated in petri dishes and exposed to an exudate from the material to be tested. In this study, one of these methods, the Phytotoxkit microbiotest, was compared to the standard phytotoxicity test with Lactuca sativa as used by the RHP foundation. The Phytotoxkit test was performed in transparent test containers which allow for direct observation and length measurements of the seedlings by means of image analysis. Two dicotyles (Lepidium sativum and Sinapis alba) and one monocotyle (Sorghum saccharatum) were used. When measuring a presumably phytotoxic bark, in comparison with a reference bark, the Phytotoxkit showed a seedling length inhibition of 60¿80% for the dicotyles and less than 20% for the monocotyle after three days. The RHP growing trial showed 30% weight inhibition of the lettuce after two weeks of plant growth when comparing the same barks in mixtures. This preliminary comparison showed that the Phytotoxkit microbiotest is a quick and practical bioassay with a high resolution which has a potential to become an international standard.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)367-374
    JournalActa Horticulturae
    Publication statusPublished - 2008


    • Bark
    • Extract
    • Petri dish test
    • Phytotoxicity tests
    • Phytotoxkit
    • Test comparison
    • Toxicity test


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