Rhizosphere micro-organisms in relation to the apple replant problem
- Cite this article as:
- Čatská, V., Vančura, V., Hudská, G. et al. Plant Soil (1982) 69: 187. doi:10.1007/BF02374514
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One of the factors giving rise to soil sickness in apple orchards is the rhizosphere microflora. The composition of the microbial coenosis in the rhizosphere changes with increasing age of the apple trees. An increase in the counts of micromycetes and actinomycetes and a decrease in bacterial counts was found in agreement with the decreasing pH of the rhizosphere soil. The presence of fluorescent pseudomonads in the rhizosphere of old apple trees was rare, but the planting of apple seedling into sick soil induced their proliferation. The relative proportion of individual genera of micromycetes changed according to the tree age; fungi of the genus Mucor were more often found in the rhizosphere of younger trees than in that of older ones while fungi of the genus Penicillium had an opposite trend. Biological tests showed that Penicillium fungi form the majority of the phytotoxic microflora. The amount of phytotoxic micromycetes was higher in ‘sick’ soil as compared with control soil in which apple trees had not been grown for at least 15 years. Higher numbers of phytotoxic micromycetes were isolated also from the rhizosphere of apple seedlings grown in ‘sick’ soil as compared with those growing in control soil. An increase in the amount of phytotoxic micromycetes in apple tree rhizosphere could be induced by mere addition of 5% (w/w) ‘sick’ soil to the soil in which apple trees were grown for the first time. By adding sterilized ‘sick’ soil, the amount of phytotoxic micromycetes in the apple seedling rhizosphere was not affected. Increased numbers of phytotoxic micromycetes affected negatively the growth of apple trees and the morphology of apple tree roots. This demonstrated the possibility of transfer of a factor participating in the etiology of soil sickness in apple orchards.