Plant and Soil

, Volume 395, Issue 1–2, pp 125–140 | Cite as

Non-monotonic influence of biochar dose on bean seedling growth and susceptibility to Rhizoctonia solani: the “Shifted Rmax-Effect”

  • Amit K. Jaiswal
  • Omer Frenkel
  • Yigal Elad
  • Beni Lew
  • Ellen R. Graber
Regular Article

Abstract

Aims

Biochar affects the progress of plant diseases caused by soilborne pathogens, frequently featuring U-shaped biochar dose/disease response curves. This study tested this phenomenon in common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris L.) with several biochars.

Methods

Four biochars prepared from two feedstocks (eucalyptus wood and greenhouse wastes) each at 350 and 600 °C were tested on bean seedling growth and infection caused by Rhizoctonia solani at concentrations of 0–3 % by weight. Biochar direct toxicity to R. solani was quantified in vitro.

Results

In general, lower concentrations (1 %) of biochar suppressed damping-off, whereas higher concentrations (3 %) were ineffective at disease protection. Plant growth in the absence of the pathogen was generally improved at all doses by the four biochars. Maximum growth response (G-Rmax) generally occurred at higher biochar doses than maximum disease reduction (D-Rmax). Direct toxicity to the pathogen could not explain disease reduction.

Conclusion

Inverted U-shaped biochar dose/plant growth and biochar dose/disease reduction curves are emerging as common patterns in biochar/crop/pathogen systems. Frequently, the inflection between growth promotion and suppression occurs at different doses than the inflection between disease suppression and promotion. We term this the “Shifted Rmax-Effect”. As there is no simple rule-of-thumb for crop/soil/biochar/dose/pathogen combinations, the possible effects of biochar on plant pathogens should not be overlooked.

Keywords

Biotic stress Hormesis effect Plant disease Plant productivity Soil amendment Soilborne pathogen 

Abbreviations

AUMPC

Area under mortality progress curve

CFU

Colony forming units

EC50

Effective concentration for 50 % growth inhibition

EUC

Eucalyptus wood chips

GC/MS

Gas chromatography - mass spectrometry

GHW

Greenhouse pepper plant wastes

HTT

Highest Treatment Temperature

RT

Retention time

Notes

Acknowledgments

We thank Indira Paudel, Dalia Rav David, Prof. Dani Shtienberg, Dr. Yephet Ben-Yephet, Menahem Borenshtein, Ludmilla Tsechansky, and Ran Shulhani for their help in the experiments. We would also like to thank three anonymous reviewers for their valuable advice. The research was funded by The Chief Scientist of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, Israel. Project no: 1321653. Contribution from the Agricultural Research Organization, The Volcani Center, Bet Dagan, Israel, No: 546/14

Supplementary material

11104_2014_2331_MOESM1_ESM.docx (42 kb)
ESM 1(DOCX 42 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amit K. Jaiswal
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  • Omer Frenkel
    • 1
  • Yigal Elad
    • 1
  • Beni Lew
    • 3
  • Ellen R. Graber
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Plant Pathology and Weed Research, Institute of Plant Protection, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)The Volcani CenterBet DaganIsrael
  2. 2.Department of Plant Pathology and Microbiology, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael
  3. 3.Department of Growing, Production and Environmental Engineering, Institute of Agricultural Engineering, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)The Volcani CenterBet DaganIsrael
  4. 4.Department of Soil Chemistry, Plant Nutrition and Microbiology, Institute of Soil, Water and Environmental Sciences, Agricultural Research Organization (ARO)The Volcani CenterBet DaganIsrael

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