Soil microbiome is more heterogeneous in organic than in conventional farming system

M. Lupatini, G.W. Korthals, M. De Hollander, Thierry K.S. Janssens, E.E. Kuramae (Corresponding author)

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review

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Organic farming system and sustainable management of soil pathogens aim at reducing the use of agricultural chemicals in order to improve ecosystem health. Despite the essential role of microbial communities in agro-ecosystems, we still have limited understanding of the complex response of microbial diversity and composition to organic and conventional farming systems and to alternative methods for controlling plant pathogens. In this study we assessed the microbial community structure, diversity and richness using 16S rRNA gene next generation sequences and report that conventional and organic farming systems had major influence on soil microbial diversity and community composition while the effects of the soil health treatments (sustainable alternatives for chemical control) in both farming systems were of smaller magnitude. Organically managed system increased taxonomic and phylogenetic richness, diversity and heterogeneity of the soil microbiota when compared with conventional farming system. The composition of microbial communities, but not the diversity nor heterogeneity, were altered by soil health treatments. Soil health treatments exhibited an overrepresentation of specific microbial taxa which are known to be involved in soil suppressiveness to pathogens (plant-parasitic nematodes and soil-borne fungi). Our results provide a comprehensive survey on the response of microbial communities to different agricultural systems and to soil treatments for controlling plant pathogens and give novel insights to improve the sustainability of agro-ecosystems by means of beneficial microorganisms.
Original languageEnglish
Article number2064
JournalFrontiers in Microbiology
Publication statusPublished - 04 Jan 2017


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