De-coupling of root–microbiome associations followed by antagonist inoculation improves rhizosphere soil suppressiveness
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It was hypothesized that disruption of the root–microbiome association creates empty rhizosphere niches that could be filled by both soilborne pathogens and beneficial microbes. The effect of de-coupling root–microbiome associations related to improve soil suppressiveness was investigated in cucumber using the pathogen Fusarium oxysporum f. sp. Cucumerinum (FOC) and its antagonist Bacillus amyloliquefaciens SQR9 (SQR9) system. The root–soil microbiome association of cucumber was disrupted by applying the fungicide carbendazim to the soil, and then FOC or/and its antagonist SQR9 were inoculated in the rhizosphere. In the fungicide treatment, the FOC wilt disease incidence was significantly increased by 13.3 % on average compared to the FOC treatment without fungicide. However, when the fungicide treatment was applied to the soil with SQR9 and FOC, the SQR9 effectively reduced the disease incidence, and improved cucumber plant growth compared to a no fungicide control. These results indicate that de-coupling of root–microbiome associations followed by antagonist inoculation can improve rhizosphere soil suppressiveness, which may help to develop strategies for efficient application of rhizosphere beneficial microbes in agriculture.
KeywordsRoot–microbiome association Rhizosphere niche Soil suppressiveness Fusarium wilt
This research was financially supported by the Chinese Ministry of Science and Technology (2013AA100802) and the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41271271). RZ and QS were also supported by the Priority Academic Program Development of Jiangsu Higher Education Institutions. JMV was supported by a grant from the National Science Foundation (MCB-0950857). RZ, QR, and JMV are part of the 111 Project (B12009).
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