Volatile-mediated antagonism of soil bacterial communities against fungi

Xiaogang Li, Paolina Garbeva, Xiaojiao Liu, Paulien J.A. klein Gunnewiek, Anna Clocchiatti, Maria P.J. Hundscheid, Xingxiang Wang, Wietse de Boer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Competition is a major type of interaction between fungi and bacteria in soil and is also an important factor in suppression of plant diseases caused by soil-borne fungal pathogens. There is increasing attention for the possible role of volatiles in competitive interactions between bacteria and fungi. However, knowledge on the actual role of bacterial volatiles in interactions with fungi within soil microbial communities is lacking. Here, we examined colonization of sterile agricultural soils by fungi and bacteria from non-sterile soil inoculums during exposure to volatiles emitted by soil-derived bacterial communities. We found that colonization of soil by fungi was negatively affected by exposure to volatiles emitted by bacterial communities whereas that of bacteria was barely changed. Furthermore, there were strong effects of bacterial community volatiles on the assembly of fungal soil colonizers. Identification of volatile composition produced by bacterial communities revealed several compounds with known fungistatic activity. Our results are the first to reveal a collective volatile-mediated antagonism of soil bacteria against fungi. Given the better exploration abilities of filamentous fungi in unsaturated soils, this may be an important strategy for bacteria to defend occupied nutrient patches against invading fungi. Another implication of our research is that bacterial volatiles in soil atmospheres can have a major contribution to soil fungistasis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1025-1035
JournalEnvironmental Microbiology
Issue number3
Early online date3 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


Dive into the research topics of 'Volatile-mediated antagonism of soil bacterial communities against fungi'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this