Daily changes of infections by Pythium ultimum after a nutrient impulse in organic versus conventional soils

M. He, W. Ma, G. Tian, W.J. Blok, A. Khodzaeva, V.V. Zelenev, A.M. Semenov, A.H.C. van Bruggen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Bacterial populations (CFU) have been shown to oscillate in wavelike patterns after nutrient impulses in previous studies. The amplitudes and periods of oscillations could possibly be used as indicators of soil health analogous to the stability and resilience of biological populations widely accepted as indicators for ecosystem health. Limited plant and animal disease outbreaks can also be viewed as a manifestation of a healthy soil ecosystem. Two pot experiments were carried out to verify whether damping-off of beet seedlings by Pythium ultimum, measured as area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC), fluctuated over time after incorporation of organic materials into organic versus conventional soils, and to investigate whether daily dynamics of AUDPCs were linked to the dynamics of microbial populations and chemical parameters. AUDPCs oscillated significantly over time when Pythium bioassays were initiated daily after addition of ground grass and clover shoots (GC) into unplanted soils. Similar oscillations with significant harmonics of AUDPC were also observed in composted manure (CM)-amended soils but with smaller amplitudes than in GC-amended soils. The AUDPC harmonics in amended soils had periods similar to those of CFU of copiotrophic bacteria. Cross-correlation analysis demonstrated that periodic fluctuations of P. ultimum infections (AUDPCs) did not coincide with those of copiotrophic CFU but were shifted in phase. It appears that competition or antagonism from some fast-growing bacteria influenced pathogen infections, because these bacterial populations were growing and dying. Soil chemical variables, including pH, dissolved organic carbon, and NO(3)(-)-N, and NH(4)(+)-N contents, changed significantly in the initial 7 days after a nutrient impulse into soils. These changes were cross-correlated with copiotrophic CFU with time lags of approximately 1 to 2 days but were seldom associated with daily changes in AUDPCs. Organically managed soils always had lower AUDPC ratios of amended to nonamended treatments, indicating that organic materials showed stronger suppressive abilities to P. ultimum in organic than in conventional soils. The oscillations in AUDPCs and copiotrophic CFU in amended organic soil also had smaller amplitudes than in amended conventional soil. These results suggested that organically managed soils had a greater resistance and resilience to the disturbance of the amendments and, therefore, could be considered healthier than conventionally managed soils
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)593-600
JournalPhytopathology
Volume100
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2010

Keywords

  • damping-off
  • bacterial-populations
  • root-rot
  • pseudomonas-fluorescens
  • biological indicators
  • microbial communities
  • disease suppression
  • plant-pathogens
  • wheat roots
  • compost

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