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Molecular Characterization of the Pathogen and Symbiotic Fungal Community composition in the rhizosphere of common European potato varieties

Kaire Loit: Estonian University of Life Sciences, Chair of Plant Health

<div>Potato (<em>Solanum tuberosum</em> L.) has one of the heaviest demands for fertilizers and pesticides among all vegetable crops. As Arbuscular Mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are naturally present in the soil, proper management of AMF may provide as a sustainable alternative to reduce the high inputs of fertilizers and pesticides. The aim of the study was to get new knowledge about pathogen and symbiotic fungal community and their interactions in conventionally treated field soil. In total 315 soil and root samples were collected. AMF and pathogenic fungal community composition were assessed by using Illumina MISeq sequencing of ITS region. The results showed the variable richness of AMF and pathogenic fungi throughout the growing season. It was found that pathogenic <em>fungal community</em> composition was influenced by potato <em>cultivar</em><em> and plant growth stage</em>. In contrast, AMF<em> community</em> was not influenced either by cultivar nor <em>plant growth stage</em>. Despite applied conventional management regimes, plant roots were highly colonized by pathogenic fungi. In contrast, the colonization rate in plant roots by AMF was still relatively low and insufficient to suppress pathogenic organisms.</div>