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Short-Term Fluctuations of Sugar Beet Damping-Off by Pythium ultimum in Relation to Changes in Bacterial Communities After Organic Amendments to Two Soils

He, Miaomiao, Tian, Guangming, Semenov, Alexander M., van Bruggen, Ariena H. C.
Phytopathology 2012 v.102 no.4 pp. 413-420
DNA fragmentation, Pythium ultimum, bacteria, bacterial communities, beets, carbon dioxide, composted manure, damping off, denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis, eutrophication, gels, greenhouse gas emissions, microbial activity, organic soils, ribosomal DNA, seedlings, soil amendments, soil microorganisms, species diversity, sugar beet
Previously, oscillations in beet seedling damping-off by Pythium ultimum, measured as area under the disease progress curve (AUDPC), were demonstrated after incorporation of organic materials into organic and conventional soils. These periodic fluctuations of P. ultimum infections were cross-correlated with oscillations of copiotrophic CFU at lags of 2 to 4 days. For this article, we investigated whether bacterial communities and microbial activities fluctuated after a disturbance from incorporation of organic materials, and whether these fluctuations were linked to the short-term oscillations in AUDPC of beet seedling damping-off and bacterial populations (CFU) in soil. Soil microbial communities studied by polymerase chain reaction-DGGE analysis of 16S DNA after isolation of total DNA from soil and microbial activities measured as CO₂ emission rates were monitored daily for 14 days after addition of grass-clover (GC) or composted manure (CM) into organic versus conventional soils. Similar to our previous findings, AUDPC and density of copiotrophic bacteria oscillated with time. Fluctuations in species richness (S), Shannon diversity index (H), and individual amplicons on DGGE gels were also detected. Oscillations in AUDPC were positively cross-correlated with copiotrophic CFU in all soils. Oscillations in AUDPC were also positively cross-correlated with 19 to 35% of the high-intensity DNA fragments in soils amended with GC but only 2 to 3% of these fragments in CM-amended soils. AUDPC values were negatively cross-correlated with 13 to 17% of the amplicons with low average intensities in CM-amended soils, which were not correlated with densities of copiotrophic CFU. CO₂ emission rates had remarkable variations in the initial 7 days after either of the soil amendments but were not associated with daily changes in AUDPC. The results suggest that infection by P. ultimum is hampered by competition from culturable copiotrophic bacteria and some high-intensity DGGE amplicons, because AUDPC is cross-correlated with these variables at lags of 1 to 4 days. However, negative cross-correlations with low-intensity DNA fragments indicate that P. ultimum infection could also be suppressed by antagonistic bacteria with low densities that may be nonculturable species, especially in CM amended soil. The organic soil generally had lower AUDPC values, higher bacterial diversity, and negative cross-correlations between AUDPC and low-intensity DNA fragments (after CM amendment), indicating that specific bacteria that do not attain high densities may contribute to P. ultimum suppression in organic soils.