Plant neighbours can make or break the disease transmission chain of a fungal root pathogen

Eline Ampt (Co-auteur), Jasper van Ruijven, Mark Zwart, J.M. Raaijmakers, Aad J Termorshuizen, Liesje Mommer

Onderzoeksoutput: Bijdrage aan wetenschappelijk tijdschrift/periodieke uitgaveArtikelWetenschappelijkpeer review

13 Citaten (Scopus)
145 Downloads (Pure)


Biodiversity can reduce or increase disease transmission. These divergent effects suggest that community composition rather than diversity per se determines disease transmission. In natural plant communities, little is known about the functional roles of neighbouring plant species in belowground disease transmission.
Here, we experimentally investigated disease transmission of a fungal root pathogen (Rhizoctonia solani) in two focal plant species in combinations with four neighbour species of two ages. We developed stochastic models to test the relative importance of two transmission-modifying mechanisms: (1) infected hosts serve as nutrient supply to increase hyphal growth, so that successful disease transmission is self-reinforcing; and (2) plant resistance increases during plant development.
Neighbouring plants either reduced or increased disease transmission in the focal plants. These effects depended on neighbour age, but could not be explained by a simple dichotomy between hosts and nonhost neighbours. Model selection revealed that both transmission-modifying mechanisms are relevant and that focal host–neighbour interactions changed which mechanisms steered disease transmission rate.
Our work shows that neighbour-induced shifts in the importance of these mechanisms across root networks either make or break disease transmission chains. Understanding how diversity affects disease transmission thus requires integrating interactions between focal and neighbour species and their pathogens.
Originele taal-2Engels
Pagina's (van-tot)1303-1316
TijdschriftNew Phytologist
Nummer van het tijdschrift3
Vroegere onlinedatum2021
StatusGepubliceerd - 2022


Duik in de onderzoeksthema's van 'Plant neighbours can make or break the disease transmission chain of a fungal root pathogen'. Samen vormen ze een unieke vingerafdruk.

Citeer dit