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Effects of long-term barley monoculture on plant-affecting soil microbiota

Abstract

Effects of soil microbiota on shoot and root growth of barley were tested in a greenhouse tube-growing system. Tubes were filled with a mixture of pure sand and various percentages of soils sampled from plots in three long-term field experiments measuring effects of various crop rotations on yield. Using 3% soil in the sand-soil mixture, shoot dry weight of barley test plants was reduced by about 35% and root depth by about 40% in soils from monoculture plots as compared to soils from crop-rotation plots. Typical root symptoms on poorly growing barley plants started as distinct dark-brown zones which then rapidly spread over the whole root system until the root tips ceased to grow. As tested in one experiment, the barley monoculture soil also affected wheat and oats, but to a lesser degree than it did barley. Most of the depressing effects of monoculture soil on barley were eliminated when soil samples were treated with metalaxyl or heated to 65°C for 2 hours. A Pythium sp. frequently isolated from barley roots showing typical symptoms affected barley, wheat and oats in the same way as did barley monoculture soil.

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Olsson, S., Gerhardson, B. Effects of long-term barley monoculture on plant-affecting soil microbiota. Plant Soil 143, 99–108 (1992). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00009134

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00009134

Key words

  • barley monoculture
  • metalaxyl
  • Pythium spp.
  • root symptoms
  • soil microbiota
  • soil test system