Plant and Soil

, Volume 263, Issue 1, pp 133–142 | Cite as

Effect of green manure on Pythium spp. population and microbial communities in intensive cropping systems

  • L.M. Manici
  • F. Caputo
  • V. Babini


Saprophytic soil-borne pathogens can be either actively suppressed by organic amendments or enhanced, depending on soil health conditions. This can be deleterious in the event of selection of a soil-borne population by previous soil management and short crop rotation. Trials were performed in the open field and in pots, using naturally infected soil from intensive crop systems, i.e., soil from fields with 8 years of strawberry cultivation. The aim was to study short-term response of Pythium and soil microbial populations to green manure. The use of green manure in these naturally infested soils, 3–10 weeks after fresh tissue incorporation, caused Pythium populations to increase concurrent with an increase in soil microbial populations, and did not result in the suppression of the pathogen. A more elaborate trial was performed under controlled conditions, amending soil with fresh wheat plant material, air-dried wheat plant material and an organic fertilizer with a high level of humic substances. Although compared to the original soil, all amendments caused a similar increase in organic matter content and small differences in soil respiration, incorporation of fresh, not decomposed, plant material strongly increased Pythium, while the organic fertilizer did not affect the original level of the pathogen population. The increase in total number of fungi and bacteria did not have any suppressive effect on the Pythium population in naturally infested soil used for this study.

culturable bacteria organic farming plant residues soil-borne pathogens total fungi 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Anderson J P E and Domsch K H 1975 Measurement of bacterial and fungal contributions to respiration of selected agricultural and forest soils. Can. J. Microbiol. 2, 314–322.Google Scholar
  2. Anonymous 1988 The new farm's cover crop guide, The New Farm, Magazine, Emmaus, PA April.Google Scholar
  3. Anonymous 1999 Council Regulation (EC) No 1804/1999s of 19 July 1999 supplementing Regulation (EEC) No 2092/91 on organic production of agricultural products and indications referring thereto on agricultural products and foodstuffs to in-clude livestock production. Official Journal L 222, 24/08/1999 P. 0001–0028.Google Scholar
  4. Bezdicek D F and Granatstein D 1989 Crop rotation efficiencies and biological farming systems. Amer. J. Altern. Agric. 4(3) 111–119.Google Scholar
  5. Ciavatta C, Vittori Antisari L and Sequi P 1989 Determination of organic carbon in soils and fertilizers. Commun. Soil. Sci. Plant Anal. 20, 759–773.Google Scholar
  6. Ciavatta C, Govi M, Vittori Antisari L and Sequi P 1991 Determina-tion of organic carbon in aqueous extracts of soils and fertilizers. Commun. Soil Sci. Plant Anal. 22, 795–807.Google Scholar
  7. Cook R J 1968 Fusarium foot and root rot cereals in the Pacific Northwest Phytopathrology 58, 127–131.Google Scholar
  8. Cook R J, Sitton J W and Walder J T 1980 Evidence for Pythium as a pathogen of direct-drilled wheat in the pacific Northwest. Plant Dis. 64, 102–103.Google Scholar
  9. Chen Y, Hoitink H A J, Schmittehnner A F and Tuovinen O H 1988 The role of microbial activity in suppression of damping off caused by Pythium ultimum. Phytopathology 78, 314–322.Google Scholar
  10. David R M and Nunez J J 1999 Influence of crop rotation on the incidence of Pythium-andRhizoctonia-induced carrot root dieback. Plant Dis. 83, 146–148.Google Scholar
  11. DeWeger L A, van der Bij A J, Dekkers L C, Simons M, Wijf-felman C A and Lugtemberg B J J 1995 Colonisation of the rhizosphere of crop plants by beneficial pseudomonas. FEMS Microbiol. Ecol. 17, 221–228.Google Scholar
  12. Dhiangra O D and Sinclair J B 1986. Basic Plant Pathology Methods. pp. 179–189. CRC, Boca Raton, FL, USA.Google Scholar
  13. Erhart E, Burian K, Hrtl W and Stich K 1999 Suppression of Pythium ultimum by biowaste compost in relation to compost microbial biomass, activity and content of phenolic compounds. J. Phytopath. 147(5), 299–305.Google Scholar
  14. Frey S D, Elliott E T and Paustian K 1999 Bacterial and fungal abundance e biomass in conventional and no tillage agroecosys-tems along two climatic gradients. Soil Biol. Biochem. 31, 1473–1480.Google Scholar
  15. Grünwald N J, Workneh F, Hu S and van Bruggen A H C 1997 Com-parison of an in vitro and a damping-off assay to test soils for.142 suppressiveness to Pythium aphnidermatum. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 103, 55–63.Google Scholar
  16. Grünwald N J, Hu S and van Bruggen A H C 2000 Short-term cover crop decomposition in organic and conventional soils: Charac-terization of soil C, N, microbial and plant pathogen dynamics. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 106, 37–50.Google Scholar
  17. Henriksen T M and Breland T A 1999 Nitrogen availability effects on carbon mineralization, fungal and bacterial growth, and en-zyme activities during decomposition of wheat straw in soil. Soil Biol. Biochem. 31, 1121–1134.Google Scholar
  18. Hu S, van Bruggen H A C, Wakeman R J and Grünwald N J 1997 Microbial suppression of in vitro growth of Pythium ultimum and disease incidence in relation to soil C and N availability. Eur. J. Plant Pathol. 195, 43–52.Google Scholar
  19. Jeffers S and Martin S B 1986 Comparison of two selective media for Phytophthora and Pythium species. Plant Dis. 70, 1038–1043.Google Scholar
  20. Keinath A F, Harrison H W, Marino P C, Jackson D M, Pullaro T 2003 Increase in populations of Rhizoctonia solani and wirestem of collard with velvet bean cover crop mulch. Plant Dis. 87, 719–725.Google Scholar
  21. Laughlin R J and Steveson R J 2002 Evidence for fungal dominance of denitrification and codenitrification in a grassland soil. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 66, 1540–1548.Google Scholar
  22. Lumsden R D, Lewis J A and Papavizas G C 1983 Effect of organic amendments on soilborne plant diseases and pathogen antagon-ists. In Environmentally Sound Agriculture. Ed. W Lockeretz. pp. 51–70. Praeger Scientific, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Lupwayi N Z, Rice W A and Clayton G W 1998 Soil microbial diversity and community structure under wheat as influenced by tillage and crop rotation. Soil Biol. Biochem. 30(13), 1733–1741.Google Scholar
  24. Lynch J M and Panting L M 1980 Variation in the size of soil biomass. Soil Biol. Biochem. 12, 547–550.Google Scholar
  25. Manici L M, Baruzzi G and Lazzeri L 1999 Variation of Pythium spp. in strawberry field according to the soil management. J. Plant. Pathol. 81, 234.Google Scholar
  26. Martin F M 1999 Strawberry root rot and the recovery of Pythium and Rhizoctonia spp. Ann. Inter Res. Conf. on Methyl Bromide: Alternatives and emissions reduction. 6, 1–3.Google Scholar
  27. Mazzola M and Gu Y-H 2000 Impact of wheat cultivation on microbial communities from replant soil and apple growth in greenhouse trials. Phytopath. 90, 114–119.Google Scholar
  28. Mircetich S M 1971 The role of Pythium in feeder roots of diseased and symptomless peach trees in the orchard soils in peach tree decline. Phytopathology 61, 351–360.Google Scholar
  29. Nelson P E, Tousson T A and Marasas W F O 1983 Fusarium spe-cies. An illustrated manual for identification. The Pennsylvania State University Press. 190 pp.Google Scholar
  30. Ogoshi A, Cook R J and Bassett E N 1990 Rhizoctonia species and anastomosis groups causing root rot of wheat and barley in the Pacific Northwest. Phytopathol. 80, 784–788.Google Scholar
  31. Pieczarka D J and Abawi G S 1978 Effect of the interaction between Fusarium, Pythium and Rhizoctonia on severity been root rot. Phytopathology. 68, 403–408.Google Scholar
  32. Pieters J A 1927 Green manuring, principles and practice. John Wiley and Sons. New York. pp. 365.Google Scholar
  33. Ploetz R C, Mitchell D J and Gallaher R N 1985 Population dy-namics of soil-borne fungi in a field multi-cropped to rye and soybeans under reduced tillage in Florida. Pythopathology 75, 1447–1451.Google Scholar
  34. Postma J, Willemsen-de Klein MJ E I Mand van Elsas J D 2000 Ef-fect of the indigenous microflora on the development of the root and crown rot caused by Pythium aphanidermatum in cucumber grown on rockwool. Phytopathology 90, 125–133.Google Scholar
  35. Raich J W, Bowden R D and Steudler P A 1990 Comparison of two static chamber techniques for determining carbon dioxide efflux from forests soils. Soil Sci. Soc. Am. J. 54, 1754–1757.Google Scholar
  36. Reeves D W 1994 Cover crops and rotations. In Crops Residue Management. Eds. J L Hatfield and B A Steward. pp. 127–172. Lewis Publishers. Ann Arbor, MI, USA.Google Scholar
  37. Reid K 1990 Cover crops in conserving farming. OMAF Factsheet, August 1990.Google Scholar
  38. Rickrel D H, Curl E A, Touchton J T and Gordon W B 1992 Crop mulch effect on Rhizoctonia soil infestation and disease severity in conservation tilled cotton. Soil Biol. Biochem. 24(6), 553–557.Google Scholar
  39. Samson R A and van Reenen-Hoekstra E S 1988 Introduction to food-borne pathogens. 3rd edn. Centraalbureau vor Schimmel-cultures. pp. 299.Google Scholar
  40. Schunt P 1976 Glossary of terms in soil science. Publication 1459. Canada Department of Agriculture. pp. 44.Google Scholar
  41. Shinner F 1982 Soil microbial activities and litter decomposition related to altitude. Plant Soil 65, 87–94.Google Scholar
  42. Soil Survey Staff 1994 Keys to soil taxonomy. 6th edn. United States Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources Conservation Service.Google Scholar
  43. Thornton H C 1922 On the development of standardizing agar me-dium for counting soil bacteria with especial regard to repression of spreading colonies. Ann. App. Biol. 9, 241–247.Google Scholar
  44. Tojo M, Abe T, Hasunama N, Minatodami M, Sato Y, Ohki S T and Osaki T 1998 Seasonal population changes of Pythium spp. in bentgrass greens in Japan. Abs. 2.2.4 in Offered Papers at 7th International Congress of Plant Pathology, Edinburgh (UK) 9–16 August 1998.Google Scholar
  45. Trond M, Henriksen T M and Breland T A 1999 Evaluation of criteria for describing crop residue degradability in a model of carbon and nitrogen turnover in soil. Soil Biol. Biochem. 31, 1135–1149.Google Scholar
  46. Van Os G J, Van Gullik W J M and Boer W J 1998 Disease develop-ment of Pythium root rot in bulbous Iris and Crocus. Ann. Appl. Biol. 132, 227–238.Google Scholar
  47. Watanabe T, Hashimoto K and Sato M 1977 Pythium species asso-ciated with the strawberry roots in Japan, and their role in the strawberry stunt disease. Phytopathology 67, 1324–1332.Google Scholar
  48. Waterhouse G M 1967 Key to Pythium Pringsheim. Mycological papers, No 109. C.A.B. sssssKew, Surrey, England.Google Scholar
  49. Waterhouse G M 1968 The genus of Pythium Pringsheim. Mycolo-gical papers, No 110. C.A.B. Kew, Surrey, England.Google Scholar
  50. Waterhouse G M and Waterston J M 1966 Pythium deliense. C.M.I description of Pathogenic Fungi and Bacteria No 116. C.A.B, Kew, Surrey, England.Google Scholar
  51. Weyman-Kaczmarkowa W and Wójcik-Wojtkowak D 1991 The dynamics of microflora and the occurrence of phytotoxic sub-stances in different soils with corn residues and inorganic nitrogen. Plant Soil 132, 11–20.Google Scholar
  52. Wójcik-Wojtkowak D, Politycka B, Schneider M and Perkowski J 1990 Phenolic substances as allelopathic agents arising during the degradation of rye (Secale cereale) tissues. Plant Soil 124, 143–147.Google Scholar
  53. Wyland L J, Jackson I E and Shlback K F 1995 Soil plant nitrogen dynamics following incorporation of a mature rye cover crop in a lettuce production system. J. Agric. Sci. Cambridge 124, 17–25.Google Scholar
  54. Xiao C L and Duniway J M 1998 Frequency of isolation and pathogenicity of fungi on roots of strawberry in fumigated and nonfumigated soils. Phytopathology 88, S100.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • L.M. Manici
    • 1
  • F. Caputo
    • 1
  • V. Babini
    • 1
  1. 1.Research Institute for Industrial Crops (MiPAF)BolognaItaly. Corresponding author

Personalised recommendations