Intercropping with Trifolium repens contributes disease suppression of banana Fusarium wilt by reshaping soil protistan communities

Xiangyu Ren, Zeyuan Zhou, Manyi Liu, Zongzhuan Shen, Beibei Wang*, Alexandre Jousset, Stefan Geisen, Mohammadhossein Ravanbakhsh, George A. Kowalchuk, Rong Li, Qirong Shen, Wu Xiong*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Fusarium wilt disease of bananas, caused by the soil-borne pathogen Fusarium oxysporum, threatens banana production. Intercropping, cultivation of more than one crop simultaneously on the same field, has emerged as efficient and sustainable land management for suppressing Fusarium wilt disease. Although previous studies have proven the changes in soil microbial communities including bacteria and fungi under intercropping contributed to disease suppression, little is known about the role of protistan communities in driving this effect. In a field experiment, we assessed microbiome shifts with a focus on protists under intercropping of banana with the legume Trifolium repens. Our results showed that the reduced Fusarium wilt disease incidence and the decreased Fusarium pathogen density under intercropping could be attributed to the changes in protistan community compositions. Specially, we observed a significant negative correlation between the relative abundance of phagotrophic protists and Fusarium oxysporum. We further conducted a pot experiment to examine the impacts of the legume crop on phagotrophic protists across different spatial distances, which showing that intercropping enriched the relative abundance of phagotrophic protists, especially Cercomonas, with members of this group showing the capacity to directly inhibit the growth of Fusarium pathogen in vitro. We highlight that predatory protists are important agents underlying disease suppression in intercropping system, which can offer new venues to promote plant health in sustainable agriculture.

Original languageEnglish
Article number108797
JournalAgriculture, Ecosystems and Environment
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2024


  • Banana Fusarium wilt
  • Disease suppression
  • Intercropping legume
  • Phagotrophic protists


Dive into the research topics of 'Intercropping with Trifolium repens contributes disease suppression of banana Fusarium wilt by reshaping soil protistan communities'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this