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BACKGROUND: There is increasing evidence that microbial volatiles (VOCs) play an important role in natural suppression of soil-borne diseases, but little is known on the factors that influence production of suppressing VOCs. In the current study we examined whether a stress-induced change in soil microbial community composition would affect the production by soils of VOCs suppressing the plant-pathogenic oomycete Pythium. Using pyrosequencing of 16S ribosomal gene fragments we compared the composition of bacterial communities in sandy soils that had been exposed to anaerobic disinfestation (AD), a treatment used to kill harmful soil organisms, with the composition in untreated soils. Three months after the AD treatment had been finished, there was still a clear legacy effect of the former anaerobic stress on bacterial community composition with a strong increase in relative abundance of the phylum Bacteroidetes and a significant decrease of the phyla Acidobacteria, Planctomycetes, Nitrospirae, Chloroflexi and Chlorobi. This change in bacterial community composition coincided with loss of production of Pythium suppressing soil volatiles (VOCs) and of suppression of Pythium impacts on Hyacinth root development. One year later, the composition of the bacterial community in the AD soils was reflecting that of the untreated soils. In addition, both production of Pythium-suppressing VOCs and suppression of Pythium in Hyacinth bioassays had returned to the levels of the untreated soil. GC/MS analysis identified several VOCs, among which compounds known to be antifungal, that were produced in the untreated soils but not in the AD soils. These compounds were again produced 15 months after the AD treatment. Our data indicate that soils exposed to a drastic stress can temporarily lose pathogen suppressive characteristics and that both loss and return of these suppressive characteristics coincides with shifts in the soil bacterial community composition. Our data are supporting the sug
Original languageEnglish
Article number701
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Volume6
DOI
Publication statusPublished - 2015

    Research areas

  • national

ID: 1176961