Pathogen suppression by microbial volatile organic compounds in soils

W. De Boer, X.G. Li (Corresponding author), A. Meisner, P.V. Garbeva

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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There is increasing evidence that microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs) play an important role in interactions
between microbes in soils. In this minireview, we zoom in on the possible role of mVOCs in the suppression of
plant-pathogenic soil fungi. In particular, we have screened the literature to see what the actual evidence is that mVOCs in
soil atmospheres can contribute to pathogen suppression. Furthermore, we discuss biotic and abiotic factors that influence
the production of suppressive mVOCs in soils. Since microbes producing mVOCs in soils are part of microbial communities,
community ecological aspects such as diversity and assembly play an important role in the composition of produced mVOC
blends. These aspects have not received much attention so far. In addition, the fluctuating abiotic conditions in soils, such
as changing moisture contents, influence mVOC production and activity. The biotic and abiotic complexity of the soil
environment hampers the extrapolation of the production and suppressing activity of mVOCs by microbial isolates on
artificial growth media. Yet, several pathogen suppressive mVOCs produced by pure cultures do also occur in soil
atmospheres. Therefore, an integration of lab and field studies on the production of mVOCs is needed to understand and
predict the composition and dynamics of mVOCs in soil atmospheres. This knowledge, together with the knowledge of the
chemistry and physical behaviour of mVOCs in soils, forms the basis for the development of sustainable management
strategies to enhance the natural control of soil-borne pathogens with mVOCs. Possibilities for the mVOC-based control of
soil-borne pathogens are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberfiz105
JournalFEMS Microbiology Ecology
Issue number8
Early online date2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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