Compost amended soil has been found to be suppressive against plant diseases in various cropping systems. The level and reproducibility of disease suppressive properties of compost might be increased by the addition of antagonists. In the present study, the establishment and suppressive activity of two fungal antagonists of soil-borne diseases was evaluated after their inoculation in potting soil and in compost produced from different types of organic waste and at different maturation stages. The fungal antagonists Verticillium biguttatum, a mycoparasite of Rhizoctonia solani, and a non-pathogenic isolate of Fusarium oxysporum antagonistic to fusarium wilt, survived at high levels (103-105 CFU g-1) after 3 months incubation at room temperature in green waste compost and in potting soil. Their populations faded out in the organic household waste compost, especially in the matured product. In bioassays with R. solani on sugar beet and potato, the disease suppressiveness of compost increased or was similar after enrichment with V. biguttatum. The largest effects, however, were present in potting soil, which was very conducive for the disease as well as the antagonist. Similar results were found in the bioassay with F. oxysporum in carnation where enrichment with the antagonistic F. oxysporum had a positive or neutral effect. We foresee great potential for the application of antagonists in agriculture and horticulture through enrichment of compost or potting soil with antagonists or other beneficial micro-organisms.
Postma, J., Montenari, M., & van den Boogert, P. H. J. F. (2003). Microbial enrichment to enhance the disease suppressive activity of compost. European Journal of Soil Biology, 39, 157-163. https://doi.org/10.1016/S1164-5563(03)00031-1