Effect of successive cauliflower plantings and Rhizoctonia solani AG 2-1 inoculations on disease suppressiveness of a suppressive and a conducive soil

J. Postma, R.W.A. Scheper, M.T. Schilder

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    Disease suppressiveness against Rhizoctonia solani AG 2-1 in cauliflower was studied in two marine clay soils with a sandy loam texture. The soils had a different cropping history. One soil had a long-term (40 years) cauliflower history and was suppressive, the other soil was conducive and came from a pear orchard not having a cauliflower crop for at least 40 years. These two soils were subjected to five successive cropping cycles with cauliflower or remaining fallow in a greenhouse experiment. Soils were inoculated with R. solani AG 2-1 only once or before every crop. Disease decline occurred in all treatments cropped with cauliflower, either because of a decreased pathogen population or increased suppressiveness of the soil. Disease suppressiveness tests indicated that the conducive soil became suppressive after five subsequent cauliflower crops inoculated each cycle with R. solani AG 2-1. Suppressiveness of all treatments was measured in a seed germination test (pre-emergence damping-off) as well as by measuring the spread of R. solani symptoms in young plants (post-emergence damping-off). Results showed that suppressiveness was significantly stimulated by the successive R. solani inoculations; presence of the cauliflower crop had less effect. Suppressiveness was of biological origin, since it disappeared after sterilization of the soil. Moreover, suppressiveness could be translocated by adding 10% suppressive soil into sterilized soil. The suppressive soil contained higher numbers of culturable filamentous actinomycetes than the conducive soil, but treatments enhancing suppressiveness did not show an increased actinomycetes population. The suppressiveness of the soil samples did also not correlate with the number of pseudomonads. Moreover, no correlation was found with the presence of different mycoparasitic fungi, i.e. Volutella spp., Gliocladium roseum, Verticillium biguttatum and Trichoderma spp. The suppressive soil contained a high percentage of bacteria with a strong in vitro inhibition of R. solani. These bacteria were identified as Lysobacter (56%), Streptomyces (23%) and Pseudomonas (21%) spp. A potential role of Lysobacter in soil suppressiveness was confirmed by quantitative PCR detection (TaqMan), since a larger Lysobacter population was present in suppressive cauliflower soil than in conducive pear orchard soil. Our experiments showed that successive cauliflower plantings can cause a decline of the damage caused by R. solani AG 2-1, and that natural disease suppressiveness was most pronounced after subsequent inoculations with the pathogen. The mode of action of the decline is not yet understood, but antagonistic Lysobacter spp. are potential key organisms
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)804-812
    JournalSoil Biology and Biochemistry
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 2010


    • damping-off disease
    • sp strain sb-k88
    • microbial communities
    • biological-control
    • bare patch
    • lysobacter
    • decline
    • wheat
    • pathogen
    • potato


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