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Suppression of Rhizoctonia solani on Impatiens by Enhanced Microbial Activity in Composted Swine Waste-Amended Potting Mixes

September 2003 , Volume 93 , Number  9
Pages  1,115 - 1,123

H. G. Diab , S. Hu , and D. M. Benson

Department of Plant Pathology, North Carolina State University, Raleigh 27695

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Accepted for publication 26 March 2003.

Peat moss-based potting mix was amended with either of two composted swine wastes, CSW1 and CSW2, at rates from 4 to 20% (vol/vol) to evaluate suppression of pre-emergence damping-off of impatiens (Impatiens balsamina) caused by Rhizoctonia solani (anastomosis group-4). A cucumber bioassay was used prior to each impatiens experiment to monitor maturity of compost as the compost aged in a curing pile by evaluating disease suppression toward both Pythium ultimum and R. solani. At 16, 24, 32, and 37 weeks after composting, plug trays filled with compost-amended potting mix were seeded with impatiens and infested with R. solani to determine suppression of damping-off. Pre-emergence damping-off was lower for impatiens grown in potting mix amended with 20% CSW1 than in CSW2-amended and nonamended mixes. To identify relationships between disease suppression and microbial parameters, samples of mixes were collected to determine microbial activity, biomass carbon and nitrogen, functional diversity, and population density. Higher rates of microbial activity were observed with increasing rates of CSW1 amendment than with CSW2 amendments. Microbial biomass carbon and nitrogen also were higher in CSW1-amended mixes than in CSW2-amended potting mixes 1 day prior to seeding and 5 weeks after seeding. Principal component analysis of Biolog-GN2 profiles showed different functional diversities between CSW1- and CSW2-amended mixes. Furthermore, mixes amended with CSW1 had higher colony forming units of fungi, endospore-forming bacteria, and oligotrophic bacteria. Our results suggest that enhanced microbial activity, functional and population diversity of stable compost-amended mix were associated with suppressiveness to Rhizoctonia damping-off in impatiens.

© 2003 The American Phytopathological Society