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Development of biological soil disinfestations in Japan

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Biological soil disinfestations (BSDs) were developed separately in Japan and in The Netherlands as an alternative to chemical fumigations. In Japan, it was developed based on the knowledge of irrigated paddy rice and upland crop rotation system that was rather tolerant of soil-borne disease development. The methods consist of application of easily decomposable organic matter, irrigation, and covering the soil surface with plastic film, thereby inducing anaerobic (reductive) soil conditions and suppressing many soil-borne pests including fungi, bacteria, nematodes, and weeds. The methods are widely used by organic farmers in the area where residences and agricultural fields are intermingled. To note one advantage of these methods, maintenance of soil suppressiveness to Fusarium wilt of tomato was suggested, while soil treated with chloropicrin became conducive to the disease. Suppression of soil-borne fungal pathogens by BSDs might be attributed to anaerobicity and high temperature, organic acids generated, and metal ions released into soil water. Contributions of respective factors to suppression of respective pathogens might be diverse. Presumably, these factors might vary on the fungal community structure in BSD-treated soil. These factors also work in paddy fields. Therefore, the BSDs developed in Japan are probably a method to raise the efficacy of paddy–upland rotation through intensive organic matter application and through maintenance of a strongly anaerobic (reductive) soil condition.

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We thank Dr. N. Matsumoto for helpful discussion and polishing this paper. This research work was supported in part by the research and development projects for promoting new policy of agriculture, forestry and fisheries, funded by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan.

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Correspondence to Yuso Kobara.

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Momma, N., Kobara, Y., Uematsu, S. et al. Development of biological soil disinfestations in Japan. Appl Microbiol Biotechnol 97, 3801–3809 (2013).

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