, Volume 337, Issue 1-2, pp 259-272
Date: 14 Aug 2010

Rootstock genotype succession influences apple replant disease and root-zone microbial community composition in an orchard soil

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Apple replant disease (ARD) is a soil-borne disease complex that affects young apple trees in replanted orchards, resulting in stunted growth and reduced yields. Newly developed rootstock genotypes with tolerance to ARD may help to control this disease. We determined the effects of rootstock genotype rotations during orchard renovation, by investigating root-zone soil microbial consortia and the relative severity of ARD on seven rootstock genotypes (M.9, M.26, G.30, G.41, G.65, G.935, and CG.6210) planted in soil where trees on four of those same rootstocks (M.9, M.26, G.30 and CG.6210) had grown for the previous 15 years. Rootstock genotyping indicated that genetic distances among rootstocks were loosely correlated with their differential responses to ARD. Root-zone fungal and bacterial community composition, assessed by DNA fingerprinting (T-RFLP), differed between M.26 and CG.6210. Soil bacterial communities were influenced most by which rootstock had grown in the soil previously, while fungal communities were influenced more by the current replanted rootstock. In a clone library of bacteria from M.26 and CG.6210 root-zone soil, β-Proteobacteria was the most abundant phylum (25% of sequences). Sequences representing the Burkholderia cepacia complex were obtained only from CG.6210 soil. Rootstock genotypes that were grown in the orchard soil previously affected subsequent ARD severity, but replanting with the same or closely related rootstocks did not necessarily exacerbate this disease problem. Our results suggest that genotype-specific interactions with soil microbial consortia are linked with apple rootstock tolerance or susceptibility to ARD.

Responsible Editor: Hans Lambers.