Alexander M. Semenov, and
Ariena H. C. van Bruggen
First and second authors: Department of Life and Environmental Science, Hangzhou Normal University, Hangzhou 310036, China, and Department of Environment and Resource, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310029, China; third author: Department of Microbiology, Biological Faculty, Moscow State University, 119899 Vorob'evy Gory, Moscow, Russia; and fourth author: Biological Farming Systems, Wageningen University, P.O. Box 563, 6700 AN Wageningen, The Netherlands.
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Accepted for publication 25 November 2011.
Previously, oscillations in beet seedling damping-off by Pythium ultimum, measured as area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC), were demonstrated after incorporation of organic materials into organic and conventional soils. These periodic fluctuations of P. ultimum infections were cross-correlated with oscillations of copiotrophic CFU at lags of 2 to 4 days. For this article, we investigated whether bacterial communities and microbial activities fluctuated after a disturbance from incorporation of organic materials, and whether these fluctuations were linked to the short-term oscillations in AUDPC of beet seedling damping-off and bacterial populations (CFU) in soil. Soil microbial communities studied by polymerase chain reaction-DGGE analysis of 16S DNA after isolation of total DNA from soil and microbial activities measured as CO2 emission rates were monitored daily for 14 days after addition of grass-clover (GC) or composted manure (CM) into organic versus conventional soils. Similar to our previous findings, AUDPC and density of copiotrophic bacteria oscillated with time. Fluctuations in species richness (S), Shannon diversity index (H), and individual amplicons on DGGE gels were also detected. Oscillations in AUDPC were positively cross-correlated with copiotrophic CFU in all soils. Oscillations in AUDPC were also positively cross-correlated with 19 to 35% of the high-intensity DNA fragments in soils amended with GC but only 2 to 3% of these fragments in CM-amended soils. AUDPC values were negatively cross-correlated with 13 to 17% of the amplicons with low average intensities in CM-amended soils, which were not correlated with densities of copiotrophic CFU. CO2 emission rates had remarkable variations in the initial 7 days after either of the soil amendments but were not associated with daily changes in AUDPC. The results suggest that infection by P. ultimum is hampered by competition from culturable copiotrophic bacteria and some high-intensity DGGE amplicons, because AUDPC is cross-correlated with these variables at lags of 1 to 4 days. However, negative cross-correlations with low-intensity DNA fragments indicate that P. ultimum infection could also be suppressed by antagonistic bacteria with low densities that may be nonculturable species, especially in CM amended soil. The organic soil generally had lower AUDPC values, higher bacterial diversity, and negative cross-correlations between AUDPC and low-intensity DNA fragments (after CM amendment), indicating that specific bacteria that do not attain high densities may contribute to P. ultimum suppression in organic soils.
© 2012 The American Phytopathological Society