Deciphering differences in the chemical and microbial characteristics of healthy and Fusarium wilt-infected watermelon rhizosphere soils

  • Tianzhu MengEmail author
  • Qiujun Wang
  • Pervaiz Abbasi
  • Yan MaEmail author
Environmental biotechnology


Plant health is determined by the comprehensive effect of soil physicochemical and biological properties. In this study, we compared the chemical properties and microbiomes of the rhizosphere soils of healthy, Fusarium oxysporum-infected, and dead watermelon plants and attempted to assess their potential roles in plant health and Fusarium wilt expression. The rhizosphere soils were collected from watermelon plants grown in a greenhouse under the same field management practices, and various soil microbial and chemical characteristics were analyzed. The rhizosphere soil of healthy plants had the lowest abundance of F. oxysporum and pH and the highest contents of ammonium (NH4+) and nitrate (NO3). The relative content of hemicellulose was decreased in the rhizosphere soil of F. oxysporum-infected plants. The differences in soil microbial compositions among the watermelons at the three health statuses were obvious, and their microbiomes changed gradually along with plant health status. The microbiome in the rhizosphere soil of healthy plants had the highest relative abundances of potential antagonists and the lowest relative abundances of potential pathogens. The specific microbial composition together with some chemical properties of the rhizosphere soil of healthy plants might be responsible for inhibiting Fusarium wilt expression.


Fusarium wilt Plant health Microbiome Soil chemical properties 



This work was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (41701304), Postdoctoral Science Foundation of China (2016M601756), Jiangsu Planned Projects for Postdoctoral Research Funds (1701018B), and National Program on Key Basic Research Project of China (973 Program) (2015CB150500).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

253_2018_9564_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (1014 kb)
ESM 1 (PDF 1014 kb)


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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Agricultural Resource and EnvironmentJiangsu Academy of Agricultural SciencesNanjingChina
  2. 2.Kentville Research and Development CentreAgriculture and Agri-Food CanadaKentvilleCanada

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