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Cause and duration of mustard incorporation effects on soil-borne plant pathogenic fungi
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Two fungal plant pathogens, Rhizoctonia solani AG 2-2 and Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lini, were studied in relation to general responses of soil fungi and bacteria following incorporation of Brassica juncea. Our aim was to understand to what extent the changes in the biological and physicochemical characteristics of the soil could explain the effects on the studied pathogens and diseases, and to determine the temporal nature of the responses. Short-term effects of mustard incorporation (up to 4 months) were investigated in a microcosm experiment, and compared with a treatment where composted plant material was incorporated. In a field experiment, the responses were followed up to 11 months after removal or incorporation of a mustard crop. In general, responses in the variables measured changed more after incorporation of fresh mustard material than after addition of similar amounts of composted plant material (microcosms) or after removal of the mustard crop (field). The soil inoculum potential of R. solani AG 2-2 decreased directly after incorporation of mustard, but increased later to disease levels above those in the untreated soil. Neither of these effects could be explained by changes in the population density of R. solani AG 2-2. Fusarium spp. were less influenced, although an increase in the suppressiveness to Fusarium wilt was observed after mustard incorporation as compared with the treatment where mustard was removed. The microbial responses to mustard incorporation were more pronounced for bacteria than for fungi. After an initial substantial increase, the bacterial density decreased but remained above the levels in the control treatment throughout the experimental periods. The bacterial community structure was modified up to 8 months after mustard incorporation. We conclude that incorporation of fresh mustard influences soil microbial communities, especially the bacteria, and has a potential to control the pathogenic activity of R. solani 2-2 on a short-term perspective. The time dependency in microbial responses is important and should be taken into consideration for the evaluation of the potential of Brassicas to control plant disease on a field scale.
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 Record created 2010-04-13, last modified 2019-06-28

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