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IOBC-WPRS Bulletin Vol. 71, 2011


IOBC-WPRS Bulletin Vol. 71, 2011

Working Group "Multitrophic Interactions in Soil".
Proceedings of the meeting at Córdoba (Spain), 04 - 07 April, 2011.
Editors: Landa, B. B., Navas-Cortés, J. A., Montes-Borrego, M., and Steinberg, C.
ISBN 978-92-9067-248-7 [XVI + 172 pp.]


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Ecological role of mycotoxins in wheat crop residues: consequences on the
multitrophic interactions and the development of Fusarium graminearum in the soil

Abid, Muhammad, Johann Leplat, Léon Fayolle, Elodie Gautheron, Cécile Heraud, Nadine Gautheron, Véronique Edel-Hermann, Christelle Cordier, Christian Steinberg

Abstract: Fusarium graminearum causes wheat head blight disease and produce different
mycotoxins (as Deoxynivalenol=DON) which are toxic for human and animal. During off season it
survives in the soil, on weeds and in crop residues. A 6 months study was conducted in controlled
conditions (microcosms of natural soil, 17°C, 80%WHC) to test whether the presence of DON in
the wheat crop residues gives advantages to F. graminearum to survive and develop a primary
inoculum during the decomposition process. This study was carried out in the presence of the whole
soil biota (i.e. fungi, bacteria, protozoa, nematodes and earthworms). Both F. graminearum and the
biota were monitored during the decomposition process. The wheat crop residues were placed on
the soil surface or incorporated into the natural soil. This experiment was conducted with (1mg
DON/kg soil-straw mixture) and without DON. This study suggested that the mycotoxins provided
a competitive advantage to F. graminearum and were deleterious towards the fungal community
and the nematodes but not towards the bacteria or the earthworms. However, all the results were not
statistically significant. The use of molecular tools as well as the forthcoming quantification of
DON in the residues during 24 weeks of observation will provide the clarification and may confirm
or not the trends we observed.


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Fungal community changes under oilseed rape grown in shortened rotations:
implications for yield decline

Amanda Bennett, Sally Hilton, Gary Bending, David Chandler and Peter Mills

Abstract: Oilseed rape (OSR) grown frequently in rotation suffers from yield decline. Molecular
techniques have been used to identify changes in the rhizosphere fungal communities of OSR
grown in different rotational frequencies with wheat. In particular, Olpidium brassicae and
Pyrenochaeta sp. were found to increase in relative abundance in rhizosphere fungal
communities of OSR cropped continuously or in short rotation, compared to OSR grown in long
rotations. In order to investigate whether these two microorganisms contribute to yield decline,
working cultures were isolated from field samples and controlled glasshouse experiments were
carried out. For this glasshouse work, a model plant species (Brassica oleracea; closely related to
OSR) was used to facilitate rapid seed production under glasshouse conditions. Experiments were
initially carried out in a soil-less medium (sand-terragreen mix) to assess the impact of the
individual fungal species alone on the plants. Plants were inoculated with a range of doses of the
two fungi in separate experiments, and results from this model system indicated that both species
affected plant growth in terms of either reduced branching (O. brassicae) or reduced seed quality
and quantity per pod (Pyrenochaeta sp.).


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From metagenome and proteome to biocontrol: analysis of
moss- and lichen-associated microbial communities

Gabriele Berg, Anastasia Bragina, Massimiliano Cardinale, Christin Zachow, Henry Müller, Christian Berg, Andrej Shcherbakov, Wladimir Chebotar, Martin Grube

Abstract: Bryophytes and lichens represent interesting bioresources; their tight interaction with
microorganisms is only partly understood. Recently it was shown that both groups of cryptogams
are colonized at high abundance with special microbial communities, which functionally
contribute to the vitality of moss plantlets and lichen symbioses. To characterize biodiversity of
associated microbial communities, we applied combination of methods: phylogenetic diversity of
clone libraries and metagenomic and proteomic approaches. In addition, isolates were
investigated regarding their interaction with plants. According to our results, cryptogamassociated
microbial communities comprise a unique pool of highly diverse, mostly uncultivable
and host-specific microorganisms which community structure strongly depends on abiotic and
biotic factors. Additionally, bacteria were isolated for biotechnological applications. A high
proportion of isolates showed antifungal activities and a remarkable plant growth promotion by
nitrogen fixation, phosphate solubilisation and production of phytohormons as well as high
biocontrol potential.


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Global ecological patterns in uncultured Archaea: Do they have a role
in multitrophic interactions in soil?

Emilio O. Casamayor

Abstract only


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Will climate change influence multitrophic interactions in soil?
Sukumar Chakraborty

Abstract only


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Effect of weeds on microbial community in vineyards soil
Paola Elisa Corneo, Alberto Pellegrini, Cesare Gessler, Ilaria Pertot

Abstract: Weeds, in particular agrestals, represent a threat for a variety of cultivated plants,
because they compete for nutrients, water and sunlight. In addition they may affect the crops by
producing toxic compounds through a mechanism called allelopathy. Their presence leads to
huge economical losses, but on the other hand their control, especially through herbicides, could
negatively affect the environment. Therefore weed control through different strategies of
prevention, control and eradication by means of sustainable approaches is a priority worldwide.
Almost nothing is known on the interaction between weeds and soil microorganisms, for example
if weeds could play a role in the interaction with beneficial soil microbes and in preserving soil
microbiological quality. In this study we determine the effect of different weeds on total bacterial
and fungal abundance in different soils under controlled conditions. We collected soil samples in
four vineyards in northern Italy and three weeds, Poa trivialis, Taraxacum officinale and
Trifolium repens, were selected based on their ubiquitous presence in the original soils. Each
weed was planted in each soil type. The total amount of fungi and bacteria during different plant
stages development was assessed. Total fungi are poorly affected by the plant introduction, even
if, at the true leaf stage of T. officinale and T. repens, an increase was observed. Total bacteria
community at true leaf stage also showed a significant increment with T. officinale and T. repens
in some soils. The monocotyledon P. trivialis globally did not affect the bacterial and fungal
communities. Even if a general trend cannot be inferred, we demonstrate an interaction with the
combination of weed species and soil.


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Biochar soil amendement: pinpointing microbial elucidators
of induced systemic plant resistance

Max Kolton, Yigal Elad, Ellen Graber, Yael Meller-Harel, Zohar Pasternak, Eddie Cyrtryn

Abstract: Application of biochar to soil results in long term sequestration of fixed carbon as well
as improved soil quality and crop productivity. Furthermore, recent studies conducted in our
laboratory indicate that soil-applied biochar promotes systemic resistance of plants to several
prominent foliar pathogens in a variety of crops such as tomato, pepper and strawberry. We
hypothesize that this phenomenon may be at least partially attributed to root-associated microbial
elicitors whose presence is somehow augmented in the biochar-amended soils. To explore this
hypothesis, we compared the bacterial community composition on roots of 3-month old pepper
plants in biochar-amended and non-amended potting mixtures, using pyrosequencing of 16S
rRNA gene tags. Flavobacterium was the most abundant genus detected on the roots, and relative
abundance of this group was almost three-fold higher in the biochar-amended samples then in the
non-amended samples. Research is currently focusing on the direct biocontrol capacity of rootassociated
flavobacterial isolates toward phytopathogenic fungi and nematodes and their potential
to induce resistance in plants against foliar pathogens.


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Multi-pathogen disease caused by Didymella bryoniae and bacteria
on Styrian oil pumpkin: microbial ecology and biocontrol

Michael Fürnkranz, Eveline Adam, Birgit Lukesch, Henry Müller, Sabine Zitzenbacher, Martin Grube, Gabriele Berg

Abstract: The Styrian oil pumpkin, Cucurbita pepo L. subsp. pepo var. styriaca Greb., is a crop
of cultural, medical and commercial importance in Austria. Since 2004, fruit rot and black rot
caused by the ascomycete Didymella bryoniae (Fuckel) Rehm has lead to dramatic yield losses.
In the field, the fungal disease was usually associated with characteristic symptoms of
bacteriosis. Bacterial pathogens included Pectobacterium carotovorum, Pseudomonas viridiflava,
Pseudomonas syringae and Xanthomonas cucurbitae. The high coincidence of fungal and
bacterial disease suggests mutualistic effects in pathogenesis. By cultivation-dependent methods,
the fraction of Styrian oil pumpkin inhabiting in vitro antagonists against D. bryoniae and
bacterial pathogens was investigated and ended in an ARDRA and BOX PCR based selection of
five bacterial broad-spectrum antagonists from 2.320 initially tested microbes: strains of
Lysobacter spp., Pseudomonas chlororaphis, Paenibacillus polymyxa and Serratia plymuthica
were the favorites. They were successfully evaluated in greenhouse and field trials. On their
basis, a biological product to protect the Styrian oil pumpkin against microbial diseases will be


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Protection against a vine trunk attack by Phaeomoniella chlamydospora
is concomitant with root colonization by the oomycete Pythium oligandrum

Jonathan Gerbore, Emilie Bruez, Jessica Vallance, Damien Grizard, Catherine Regnault-Roger, Patrice Rey

Abstract: Strains of the biocontrol agent, Pythium oligandrum, have been isolated from various
vineyards of the Bordeaux region and ability of the oomycete to protect vines from attacks by
Phaeomoniella chlamydospora (Pch) has been assessed. Pch is a fungus associated with Esca
decline of vines and it induces wood lesions in the trunk of plants. In our experiment roots were
sampled from vine plants grown in three different soils, i.e. silt-clay, sandy-clay, stony. Whatever
the conditions, P. oligandrum strains were isolated from 11 out of 12 samples. It seems therefore
well ecologically adapted to vineyard soils. Forty strains were isolated and purified.
P. oligandrum strains were identified by sequencing of the rDNA repeat unit, i.e. 3’end of the 18s
rRNA gene, ITS-1, 5.8s rRNA gene, ITS-2, and around 580 bp of the 5’end of the 28S rRNA.
P. oligandrum elicitor detections have been carried out by amplification of two genes: oligandrin
and POD1. They were detected in most of the strains. Subsequently, some P. oligandrum strains
were used to carry out experiment about vine protection. Cabernet Sauvignon vine cuttings were
first inoculated at the root level with P. oligandrum strains, then one week later trunk of young
plants were inoculated with Pch. The Pch strain used was chosen because of its aggressiveness
and its ability to induce necrosis in wood. Protection of up to 50% was obtained when the
rhizosphere of vine cuttings was colonized with P. oligandrum. These observations provide the
first convincing evidence that P. oligandrum has the potential to induce plant resistance in wood
of vine and that it should be useful for the biological control of grapevine wood disease.


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Invasion, persistence, survival and variability: what can models tell us
about effective biological control of soil-borne, plant pathogens?

Christopher A. Gilligan

Abstract only


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Dagger and needle nematodes infesting grapevine soils in southern Spain:
integrative diagnostic and molecular phylogeny

Carlos Gutiérrez-Gutiérrez, Juan E. Palomares Rius, Carolina Cantalapiedra-Navarrete, Blanca B. Landa, Pablo Castillo

Abstract: Dagger and needle nematodes are considered globally one of the 10 most
economically important nematode groups. They interact with the plants by direct damage in
feeding process from them or in plant virus transmission. The accurate and timely identification
of dagger and needle nematodes infecting vineyards is a prerequisite for designing effective
management strategies. This is particularly relevant in grapevine fields because of the diversity of
these nematodes and the need for distinction between virus vector and non-virus vector
nematodes. This present study establishes the biodiversity of longidorids found in grapevines at
southern Spain, as well as their integrative diagnosis and molecular phylogenetic relationships,
using morphometrical analysis and molecular markers including D2-D3 expansion regions of 28S
rRNA, 18S rRNA and ITS1-rRNA. Xiphinema pachtaicum and X. index were the most frequently
dagger nematodes found (90.8 and 30.3% frequency of infestation, respectively), but other
dagger species included X. adenohystherum, X. hispidum, X. italiae, X. lupini, X. nuragicum,
X. rivesi, and X. turcicum (1.3%, 7.9%, 13.2%, 3.9%, 1.3%, 2.6%, and 1.3% frequency of
infestation, respectively). Needle nematodes were less abundant and diverse including only
Longidorus alvegus and L. magnus (2.6% and 11.8% frequency of infestation, respectively). The
species identification based on sequencing of rRNA regions and BLAST analysis was congruent
with species identification based on morphometrical studies. D2-D3 expansion segments of 28S
rDNA and ITS1 were most useful for dagger and needle nematode species identification since
they showed more variability than partial 18S rDNA. Results also showed a high level of
nematode endemism (such as X. adenohystherum, X. hispidum, X. nuragicum, X. lupini and
L. alvegus) and their phylogenetic grouping suggest a common origin for several of the
longidorid species found and the Iberian Peninsula as their potential centre of origin. Phylogeny
showed two major clades well defined and supported including Longidorus and Xiphinema
species. However, the grouping of Longidorus and Paralongidorus species with the rest of
species is well supported. Nevertheless, tree topology analysis by Shimodaira-Hasegawa test of
D2-D3 and partial 18S of our broad sequences did not refute the monophyly of the genus
Xiphinema, but the genus Paralongidorus was not accepted as a valid.


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Interactions of Fusarium oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici and the arbuscular mycorrhizal
fungus Glomus mosseae in an intercropping system of tomato
(Solanum lycopersicum L.) and leek (Allium porrum L.)

Karin Hage-Ahmed, Vladimir Chobot, Andreas Voglgruber, Franz Hadacek and Siegrid Steinkellner

Abstract: In recent years alterations of chemical signals from plants and/or microbes have
received increasing attention, as they are considered to play a central role in determining the
positive or negative outcome of interactions in the rhizosphere. However, there is still a lack in
the understanding how root exudates affect the development of fungal propagules in the
rhizosphere. In this work a complex system consisting of tomato (Solanum lycopersicum L.), the
intercropping partner leek (Allium porrum L.), the soilborne tomato pathogen Fusarium
oxysporum f.sp. lycopersici (FOL) and the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus mosseae
(AMF) was designed to assess metabolic changes in root exudation and the effects of these
exudates on FOL. Tomato and leek plants were grown together in pots and inoculated with FOL,
AMF, FOL and AMF in combination. Uninoculated tomato and leek plants and two tomato
plants grown together were added as control treatments. After a period of 10 weeks under
greenhouse conditions root exudates were collected. The exudates were used for in vitro tests
with FOL (e.g. spore germination, activity) and for analysing the components (e.g. sugars,
secondary metabolites) of the exudates with HPLC-DAD and GC-MS, respectively. Furthermore,
data about root weights, AMF colonization rates and FOL infection rates will be discussed.


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Induced systemic resistance in strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa) to powdery mildew
using various control agents

Yael Meller Harel, Max Kolton, Yigal Elad, Dalia Rav-David, Eddie Cytryn, David Ezra, Menahem Borenstein, Ran Shulchani, Ellen R. Graber

Abstract: Powdery mildew, caused by Podosphaera aphanis, is one of the major fungal diseases
of cultivated strawberry (Fragaria × ananassa Duchense) world-wide. In the present research we
report the efficacy of various control agents in induced resistance in strawberry plants against
Powdery mildew. Inducers tested are Trichoderma harzianum T39, acibenzolar-S-methyl (Bion),
a new protein hydrolysate inducer, an isolate of a bacterium and one of a yeast, and biochar.
These agents induced systemic resistance when applied to the root zone, while the disease was
found and measured on the leaves. In addition, we studied the effect of T39, Bion and biochar on
plant defense related gene expression. We show that while Bion induced Systemic Acquired
Resistance (SAR) only, as expected, T39 as well as biochar induced SAR and Induced Systemic
Resistance (ISR).


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Respiratory path between plant and soil
Hartmut Heilmann

Abstract: Electrolytes usually are not looked upon as relevant for soils and for plant growth. As
well electrochemical activity in the soil is not taken into consideration. This is also true for the inner
respiration and energy flow in the organic unit of a soil site which can be looked upon as an
organism. Work on these fields conveyed that there is a respiratory path between plant and soil in a
changing polarity between day and night. This phenomenon makes the electrochemical fertilization
effect plausible. System modelling shows that plants get energy from anion respiration from the soil
and the soil site in its life cycle can regain energy both from sun and soil. The energy from soil is
conveyed by the pressure of highly active oxidative pressure of anion activity. This not only leads
to higher yields but also to higher insect calamities.


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Detection and diversity of nematodes in the rhizosphere and bulk soil of oilseed rape
and wheat grown in shortened rotations

Sally Hilton, Amanda J. Bennett, Gary Bending, David Chandler, Peter Mills

Abstract: A long-term field experiment of OSR grown in a range of rotations with wheat was
used to determine whether shifts in nematode populations of the rhizosphere and bulk soil could
be identified. DNA was extracted from the rhizosphere and the bulk soil, and nematode
communities were profiled by Terminal Restriction Fragment Length Polymorphism (TRFLP)
using nematode specific primers to the 18s ribosomal RNA gene. TRFs were identified by
construction of a clone library. Nine different families of nematodes were detected in the clone
library from the continuously cropped OSR rhizosphere, including three families containing
known plant pathogens, including Pratylenchus neglectus (root lesion nematode), Coslenchus
franklinae, Bitylenchus dubius and Tylenchorhynchus dubius. There was a significant difference
between the nematode communities in the rhizosphere of the different crops, but there was no
difference in the bulk soil. There was also a significant difference between the nematode
communities of the rhizosphere soil and bulk soil, due mainly to an increase in the relative
abundance of plant pathogenic nematodes in the rhizosphere, in particular Pratylenchus
neglectus. Further primers were designed to amplify the cyst nematodes within the genera
Heterodera. The TRF corresponding to these pathogenic nematodes was not detected in this field
trial, but has been detected at high levels in another site within the UK.


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Verticillium wilt of olives in southern Spain: A case study for the impact of changes
in cropping practices on development and management of soil-borne plant pathogens

Rafael M. Jiménez-Díaz

Abstract only


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Population dynamics of Fusarium graminearum in various crop residues
using qPCR measurements

Johann Leplat, Muhammad Abid, Cécile Heraud, Léon Fayolle, Elodie Gautheron, Véronique Edel-Hermann, Pierre Mangin, Laurent Falchetto, Christian Steinberg

Abstract: The influence of biotic (disinfected and non disinfected soil) and trophic (presence of
crop residues or not) factors as well as the nature of residues (wheat, maize, rape) on the
saprotrophic competence of Fusarium graminearum in soil was investigated in controlled
conditions in soil microcosms for 3 months using qPCR to monitor the population dynamics of
the plant pathogenic fungus. The main factor was soil disinfection establishing that the survival
of F. graminearum was regulated by soil microbial communities. Crop residues provided a
favourable habitat for F. graminearum but the growth of the pathogenic fungus was promoted to
different extents according to the origin of the residues.


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Involvement of Induced Systemic Resistance in control of Verticillium wilt
by fluorescent Pseudomonas spp.

Mercedes Maldonado-González, Peter A. H. M. Bakker, Jesús Mercado-Blanco

Abstract: Verticillium wilt, caused by Verticillium dahliae Kleb., is a problem in many crops
and the disease is difficult to control. Strains of Pseudomonas fluorescens and P. putida were
previously isolated from root tissues of olive trees, cv. Picual. Some of them are endophytic and
can control the highly-virulent, defoliating (D) pathotype of V. dahliae in olive. One mode of
action of disease suppression by fluorescent Pseudomonas spp. is induced systemic resistance
(ISR). Pseudomonas spp. strains were tested for ISR in a system using Arabidopsis thaliana and
the pathogens P. syringae pv. tomato and Botrytis cinerea. To include V. dahliae in these studies
we inoculated A. thaliana Col-0 with several isolates of this pathogen belonging to different
vegetative compatibility groups (VCG). Isolate V937I (VCG1A, D pathotype) produced severe
symptoms in Arabidopsis, and P. fluorescens PICF7 was able to control the disease caused by
this virulent isolate. The use of non-ISR expressing accessions and mutants of A. thaliana will
allow to evaluate involvement of ISR in control of Verticillium wilt.


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Biological and physiological aspects in the host-parasite relationship of the
nematophagous fungus Pochonia chlamydosporia

Rosa H. Manzanilla-López, Ivania Esteves, Stephen J. Powers, Brian R. Kerry

Abstract: The nematophagous fungus Pochonia chlamydosporia (Clavicipitaceae) can parasitize
eggs of cyst (Globodera spp., Heterodera spp.), root-knot (Meloidogyne spp.) and false root-knot
(Nacobbus spp.) nematodes. Its potential as a biological control agent has been the subject of
numerous studies to understand the micro-ecological conditions, including the tri-trophic (e.g.,
plant, fungus, nematode) and host-parasite relationships that allow the fungus to thrive in the soil
and rhizosphere environment. Pochonia survives in soil in the absence of a nematode host and,
although it behaves as a saprophyte, research evidence points to a physiological ‘switch’ from
saprophytic to parasite stages triggered by nutrition. Fungal chlamydospore-based products for
application to soil as an inoculum have been shown to be commercially viable. However, a
deeper understanding of the biology and physiology of the host-parasite interaction could provide
new insights leading to an improvement in commercial production methodology.


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Long-term effects of the application of organic amendments
on soil fungal communities in pepper crops

M. A. Martínez, M. C. Martínez, J. Torres, J. Tello and A. Lacasa

Abstract: After methyl bromide phase out for soil disinfestation, the traditional agricultural
practice of applying organic amendments into soil has been re-introduced. Organic amendments
help in maintaining the fertility, soil structure and productivity of agriculture soils and preventing
nutrient losses, but little is known about its long-term effect on soil fungal communities. The
long-term effect of incorporating organic amendments of two different methods (biofumigation
and biosolarization) has been studied by isolation of soil fungi as part of the microbiota in the
beginning and in the end of the growing season during some years in different greenhouses. No
amended soil and methyl bromide were considered as reference treatments. Results showed that
these relatively new agricultural practices for soil disinfestations, based on environmentallyfriendly
techniques had similar results than the agricultural practice of soil disinfestation with
methyl bromide, particularly at the end of the growing season.


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Influence of management system in the natural suppressiveness
of olive orchards soils to the soilborne plant pathogen Verticillium dahliae

Miguel Montes-Borrego, Juan A. Navas-Cortés, Rafael M. Jiménez-Díaz, Blanca B. Landa

Abstract: Olive (Olea europaea L. subs. europaea) is one of the most important crops in Spain
with > 2.4 million ha. During the last two decades phytosanitary status of olive orchards is being
threatened due to some diseases caused by soilborne pathogens, mainly Verticillium wilt (VW)
caused by Verticillium dahliae (VD) which is steadily increasing both in severity and extension.
The main objective of this study was to determine the effect of olive management system on the
natural suppressiveness of olive orchards soils to VD and how this may be related with biological
and functional indicators of soil quality. An in planta bioassay was developed for assessing the
natural suppressiveness to VD of a collection of 93 soils using highly conducive conditions for VW
development. Results showed a wide range of variation among the different soils in their ability to
suppress VD, with 25.8, 49.5 and 24.7% of soils showing low, moderate and high suppressiveness
according to the VW severity developed in the test plants growing in those soils compared to that
developed in plants in sterile and pasteurized artificial soils. Canonical multivariate discriminant
analysis is being used to identify physicochemical, functional or biological indicators that may be
involved in the natural suppression to VD of those soils.


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Cultivar-specificity of bacterial and stramenopile communities
in the rhizosphere of Olea europaea

Henry Müller, Katja Drofenigg, Blanca B. Landa, Gabriele Berg

Abstract: The rhizosphere represents the interface between plant roots and surrounding soil with
a highly active microbiota. The structure of associated microbial communities is affected by
multiple factors including plant species and plant age but also soil characteristics and climate
conditions. Here, we studied the influence of the olive variety on the bacterial community as well
as on the presence of stramenopiles. Total DNA from rhizosphere samples of three Spanish and
one Italian cultivar of Olea europaea from the same field site were extracted. Using single strand
conformation polymorphism (SSCP) analyses, specific community profiles were generated and
interpreted. Results revealed a cultivar-specific association with bacteria whereas the
stramenopiles community appeared to be independent from the cultivar.


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Stenotrophomonas: an ambivalent global player from the rhizosphere
Henry Müller, Christoph Schmidt, Muhammedali Alavi, José Luis Martínez, Gabriele Berg

Abstract: The genus Stenotrophomonas is of high biotechnological, ecological but also medical
interest due to the versatility of the different species. S. maltophilia and S. rhizophila are
abundant inhabitants of rhizospheres of a broad phylogenetic range of plants. They are able to
interact with eukaryotic cells, which results in positive effects on plant growth and health but also
on negative impacts on human health. Host-microbe interactions are based on similar
mechanisms. Only hypermutator strains (with higher mutation rates) are able to colonize clinical
environments, while low mutation frequencies were particularly frequent among S. maltophilia
strains from the rhizosphere. Only the non-pathogenic S. rhizophila, is a promising candidate for
biocontrol and stress protection on plants.


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Nematode community study in a germplasm bank of representative olive cultivars
from the Mediterranean basin

Juan E. Palomares-Rius, Pablo Castillo, Miguel Montes-Borrego, Henry Müller, Blanca B. Landa

Abstract: Olive is a key crop, both economically and socially in southern Spain. Although the
interaction of plant-parasitic nematodes with free-living nematodes could play an important role
in their control, it is not known how the olive genotypes may influence the rhizosphere
environment and consequently the balance between plant-parasitic and free-living nematodes.
The aim of this work was to study the nematode communities associated with rhizospheric soil
and roots of a collection of 16 olive cultivars from a world olive germplasm bank at southern
Spain and assess whether olive genotype determine differences in the nematofauna present in
their rhizosphere. Classical nematological analysis, including soil nematode extraction, species
counting and morphological identification was performed. In addition, total soil DNA was
extracted from the same samples and used for analysis of genetic diversity of total nematode
populations using Terminal Restriction Fragments Length Polymorphism (T-RFLPs) analysis of
the 18S rDNA gene. Results showed that 24 taxa belonging to 8 genera (including
Criconemoides, Ditylenchus, Filenchus, Helicotylenchus, Merlinius, Paratylenchus, Tylenchus,
and Xiphinema) and 8 families (including Aphelenchidae, Belonolaimidae, Criconematoidae,
Hoplolaimidae, Longidoridae, Sphaerularioidea, Tylenchidae and Tylenchulidae) of plantparasitic
nematodes were present, with one species (Helicotylenchus digonicus) being prevalent
in all samples. There was no clear relationship between incidence or population density of each
nematode species with the olive genotype. General nematode maturity index (MI) values were
inconsistent between olive varieties and did not therefore distinguish differences in the levels of
soil disturbance. However, plant-parasitic nematode index (PPI) was significantly modified by
olive variety within the single field. In addition, T-RFLP analysis showed differences between
olive cultivars, with samples associated with specific varieties showing higher diversity of
nematode taxa.


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Genetic diversity of Xiphinema pachtaicum and Xiphinema index populations
based on mitochondrial and nuclear DNA variation

Juan E. Palomares-Rius, Carlos Gutiérrez-Gutiérrez, Carolina Cantalapiedra-Navarrete, Blanca B. Landa, Sofie Derycke and Pablo Castillo

Abstract: The dagger nematodes Xiphinema pachtaicum and X. index are one of the most
widespread and frequently occurring Xiphinema species co-infesting vineyards and other crops
and natural habitats worldwide. The prevalence of X. pachtaicum and the importance of X. index
as a virus-vector, together with the possibility of the latter being an introduced species and
occupying a more restricted habitat than X. pachtaicum make them interesting nematodes for the
study of population genetics. The primary objective of this study was to determine the genetic
structure of X. pachtaicum and X. index populations using nine and seven populations,
respectively, from different “wine of denomination of origin (D.O.) zones” in Spain and Sardinia
(Italy), by the study of the mitochondrial (cytochrome oxidase c subunit 1 or COI) and nuclear
(D2-D3 expansion segments of 28S rDNA) markers. Both Xiphinema species showed low intraspecific
divergence among COI sequences, ranging from 0.2% (1 base substitution) to 2.3% (10
substitutions) in X. pachtaicum, and from 0.2% (1 base substitution) to 0.4% (2 substitutions) in
X. index. Population genetic structure with a significant variation among populations within D.O.
zones and within populations were found for both species. Nevertheless, molecular differences
among grapevine-growing areas were not significant. It is hypothesized that this genetic structure
may have been originated by extensive and continuous grapevine cultivation in the sampled
geographic areas, as well as inadequate sanitation practices during long periods. Results also
demonstrated that the two DNA regions studied are suitable diagnostic markers for X. index and
X. pachtaicum.


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Pathogenic diversity of Sclerotium rolfsii populations infecting sugar beet crops
from Mediterranean-type climate regions

Efrén Remesal, Rafael Jordán-Ramírez, Rafael M. Jiménez-Díaz, Juan A. Navas-Cortés

Abstract: The pathogenic diversity among and within 12 mycelial compatibility groups (MCGs)
previously identified from a population of 459 Sclerotium rolfsii isolates infecting autumn-sown
sugar beet crops in Mediterranean-type climate regions of Chile, Italy, Portugal, and Spain were
determined to 11 economically important host crops. Across the tested plant species, MCG ii and
iv were highly virulent, MCGs i, iii, ix and x moderately virulent and MCGs iv, v, vii, viii, xi and
xii were low virulent. Similarly, across MCGs, chickpea and sunflower were highly susceptible,
pepper, watermelon, cotton and tomato susceptible, broccoli, sugar beet, and melon, moderately
susceptible, and wheat and corn were resistant. There was no MCG-host species significant
interaction. Establishing the variability in virulence among S. rolfsii isolates is of importance for
management of Sclerotium root rot diseases in crops that can potentially be affected.


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Biosolarisation and grafting as a way to mitigate the selection
of virulent populations of Meloidogyne incognita in pepper

Caridad Ros, Celia Martínez-Mora, Fulgencio Sánchez, Carmen María Lacasa, Maria del Mar Guerrero, Alfredo Lacasa

Abstract: Since the prohibition of methyl bromide as a soil fumigant to control Meloidogyne
incognita, the use of rootstocks carrying resistance genes (Me1 and Me7) to mitigate the effects
of nematode could be an alternative strategy. However, the continuous use of rootstocks in a
given soil has led to the selection of some virulent populations. To prevent the selection of
virulent M. incognita, are tested the combination of grafting on resistant rootstocks (carrying the
gene Me7) and soil biosolarisation. A bioassay comparing the use of methyl bromide and
biosolarisation in presence of grafted or ungrafted plants of pepper in two different sanitary
conditions (presence or not of virulent nematodes) was performed in the region of Murcia, in
Spain for 3 consecutive years. The results show that in highly contaminated situation the resistant
rootstocks and the fumigation methods, alone or in combination may reduce but not prevent the
attacks of virulent Meloidogyne incognita while in less infested area, the combination of
biosolarisation with resistant rootstocks prevented the selection of virulent nematodes and may
allow a sustainable pepper production.


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Changes in virulence of populations of Meloidogyne incognita to grow pepper plants
resistant to nematodes

Caridad Ros, Celia Martínez-Mora, Fulgencio Sánchez, Ana Cano, Alfredo Lacasa

Abstract: In the greenhouses of the Region of Murcia, pepper is being monocultured for more
than two decades. Meloidogyne incognita is a major soil pathogen. Rootstocks harbouring
resistance genes are an alternative to chemical control to mitigate the effects of the nematode. To
determine the influence of the interaction between this new genetic material nature of some
populations of parasitic nematodes to investigate the behavior of the reiteration of root stock
carrying resistance genes to M. incognita particularized in the gene Me7. For four consecutive
years, in four greenhouses, has followed the evolution of virulence of populations to this gene,
comparing grafted plants carrying this gene with ungrafted plants susceptible to the nematode,
grown in soil without disinfecting. We found differences in the interaction between plants grafted
on rootstocks that carry Me7 gene and nematode population, between greenhouse and between
years. In three greenhouses we found nematode population infesting grafted plants (Me7) the
same level that ungrafted plants, when these plants were grown in the same soil during 2 or 3
consecutive years. This didn’t happen in other greenhouse.


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Biocontrol of Fusarium Head Blight (FHB) in a multitrophic perspective
Sabrina Sarrocco, Fabiola Matarese, Stefania Somma, Federico Rossi, Antonio Moretti, Giovanni Vannacci

Abstract: Mycobiota composition associated with DON-treated and not treated wheat haulms,
buried in three different soils was evaluated. DON did not affect number and species profile of
fungal isolates occurring in wheat debris after 7d of incubation. F. oxysporum isolated from
haulms were confirmed for their identity by TEF sequencing and submitted to molecular typing
by AFLP, in order to assess the effect of DON and soil type on genetic variability. Based on both
analyses, F. oxysporum grouped into four main clades, independently from the soil of origin and
the presence of DON in the baits. Isolates of Pythium spp., F. oxysporum (from the previous
experiment) and Trichoderma spp. (from our collection) were tested for their ability to grow in
presence of DON. Ten Trichoderma, 56 F. oxysporum and 2 Pythium isolates showed a
statistically comparable growth rate in presence/absence of DON. Isolates not affected by DON
were tested against F. culmorum and F. graminearum mycotoxigenic isolates. Effects of Pythium
and Trichoderma against F. oxysporum were also evaluated. Pythium isolates showed a variable
growth inhibition activity against F. culmorum, did not inhibit F. graminearum but parasitize
macroconidia of both. F. oxysporum did not inhibit pathogens and was not affected by the other
antagonists. Only three Trichoderma strains showed antagonistic and mycoparasitic activity
against the pathogens and T. gamsii 6085, the best antagonist, was used in an in vitro competition
test on natural substrates (wheat straw and rice), using qPCR to estimate the effect on pathogens’
growth. Competition test on rice confirmed its ability to antagonize. On wheat straw, an extreme
oligotrophic environment, T. gamsii 6085 seemed to develop very badly and did not affect the
growth of both pathogens. This research aimed at selecting microfungi able to antagonize FHB
agents and/or to compete with them for cultural debris in a multitrophic perspective.


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Functional genomics analysis of the Pseudomonas fluorescens PICF7/Olea europaea interaction:
identification of ESTs during olive roots colonization by an endophytic biocontrol strain

Elisabetta Schiliro, Massimo Ferrara, Franco Nigro, Jesús Mercado-Blanco

Abstract: Within an integrated disease control strategy to promote long-term protection against
Verticillium wilt of olive (Olea europaea L.), we aimed to elucidate the genetic and molecular
processes taking place during the colonization of olive roots by Pseudomonas fluorescens PICF7,
an effective biocontrol agent against VWO. SSH methodology and transcriptome analysis
enabled the identification of putative genes differentially expressed such as several enzymes
related to biosynthesis of plant hormones (i.e. lipoxygenase, chorismate synthase) and of
phenylpropanoids compounds (i.e. phenylalanine ammonia lyase, cinnamyl-alcohol dehydrogenase).
Interestingly, among the transcriptionally up- or down-regulated genes, diverse
transcription factors implicated in plant signaling pathways for both biotic and abiotic stimulus
response were also identified.


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Influence of bird-induced soil fertility gradients on oomycete distribution
in a threatened Quercus suber population

María S. Serrano, Paolo De Vita, Luis V. García, Cristina Ramo, Cristina Aponte, Lorena Gómez-Aparicio, M. Esperanza Sánchez

Abstract: Cork oaks are considered keystone structures in the ecosystem of the stabilised sands
of the Doñana National Park. These remnant big trees are threatened by nesting of colonial
waterbirds (whose debris induce deep soil chemical changes) and by two pathogenic oomycetes,
Phytophthora cinnamomi and Pythium spiculum. We analyzed the distribution of seven oomycete
species in soils along a bird influence gradient. Canonical analysis revealed a significant
relationship between the composition of the oomycete community and soil chemical variables
closely related to bird debris accumulation (soil N and P contents). Some Pythium spp. were able
to live in heavily fertilized soils, while pathogenic species did not thrive in that soils. A separate
analysis showed that the presence and abundance of P. cinnamomi and P. spiculum in the
rizosphere was significantly lower in trees with moderate or high bird influence. We concluded
that 1) natural fertilization by bird faeces induced soil changes affecting pathogenic oomycetes
behaviour; 2) as long as these bird-induced soil changes were no too extreme to cause dieback by
themselves, they could prevent the spread and tree decline events caused by soil pathogens.


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Functional metagenomics for accessing the riches in suppressive soil
Sara Sjöling

Abstract only


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Bio-informatics tools for studying bacterial communities
Javier Tamames

Abstract only


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Approaches to risks assessment after release of biocontrol agent
Penicillium oxalicum in soil

Gema Vázquez, Antonieta De Cal, Paloma Melgarejo, Marta Mallorqui, Maira Martínez-Alonso, Núria Gaju, Inmaculada Larena

Abstract: This study focuses on environmental risks assessment after application of Penicillium
oxalicum strain 212 (PO212) in soil. PO212 successful survived until 365 days in soil under field
conditions at a concentration of 104-5 conidia g-1 soil with a 102-3 viable colony forming units g-1
soil. PO212 dispersed as horizontal at distance around to 30cm from plant as vertically at depths
of up to 10cm in soil. The PO212 application did not have any negative effect on soil fungi


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High shelf-life formulations for Methylobacterium extorquens DSM 21961,
a microbial inoculant to enhance strawberry flavour

Markus Verginer, Henry Müller, Gabriele Berg

Abstract: Methylobacterium extorquens DSM 21961 is a promising flavour enhancing agent on
strawberries. For the use as microbial inoculant, a method to produce and formulate the
bacterium into a product with high-cell-densities and a long shelf-life is essential. We tested three
different growing media and four formulation procedures: (i) a lyophilisate, (ii) a formulation in a
xanthan matrix, (iii) an encapsulation in alginate with and (iv) without adaptation of the cells to
storage conditions. After storage at six different temperatures and according to the calculated
disintegration kinetics, the xanthan formulation as well as the adapted alginate formulation
showed the best shelf-life. Strawberry plants were treated with these Methylobacterium
formulations, but no statistically significant differences according to cell numbers on leaves were
observed: DSM 21961 was shown to be established at a level of log10 6.0 cells g-1 leaves
monitored by strain-specific real-time PCR. Comparing all criteria (shelf-life, practicability, plant
colonization, effect, expenses), the xanthan formulation can be suggested as optimal formulation
procedure. For special applications like soil treatments, the alginate beads or the lyophylisate are
appropriate formulations. Results open the way for the use of methylobacteria in agriculture.


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Analysis of root-knot nematode early infection events in tomato colonized
by the arbuscular mycorrhizal fungus Glomus mosseae

Christine Vos, Annemie Elsen, Bart Panis, Sebastien Carpentier, Christelle Guillier, Eliane Dumas-Gaudot, Dirk De Waele

Abstract: Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are obligate root symbionts colonizing the
majority of vascular plants on earth. The fungi receive photosynthetic carbon from their host,
while the plant benefits from improved water and nutrient uptake, resulting in enhanced growth
and survival. In addition, AMF have been shown to reduce the occurrence and impact of several
soil pathogens including plant-parasitic nematodes on a wide range of agricultural crops. A wellestablished
AMF-colonization is a prerequisite for AMF-induced biocontrol against nematodes,
both locally and systemically. Apart from these observations however, the defense mechanisms
involved have rarely been investigated for AMF-nematode interactions. Our experiments indicate
that the presence of the AMF Glomus mosseae reduces root-knot nematode infection, and already
influences the nematode Meloidogyne incognita in its early stage of plant infection. In order to
understand the underlying mechanisms of this effect, we are undertaking an in-depth study by
monitoring the AMF-plant-nematode interaction during early root-knot nematode infection.


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Effect of traditional and new agricultural practices on pathogen and
biological control agents populations and on soil suppressiveness

David M. Weller, Timothy C. Paulitz, Patricia A. Okubara, Dmitri V. Mavrodi, Kurtis L. Schroeder, Robert F. Bonsall, Olga V. Mavrodi, James A. Parejko, Linda S. Thomashow

Abstract: By 2050, there will be 9 billion people on earth to feed using the same amount or less
land and water as is currently available for agricultural production. Currently about one third of
all agricultural commodities grown worldwide are lost to diseases, insects and other pests.
Soilborne diseases account for a significant amount of those annual losses in food production,
and crop plants often lack resistance to soilborne pathogens. Farmers will need to increase
production, but must do so using less pesticides and more sustainable cropping practices. This
paper discusses how changes in agricultural practices that are needed to enhance sustainability in
21st century wheat production also impact populations of soilborne pathogens and diseases,
disease suppressive soils and populations of biocontrol agents. We focus on the Pacific
Northwest of the USA, and more specifically on wheat production in the state of Washington.
Changes to more sustainable agricultural practices such as reduced tillage have led to an increase
in the incidence of soilborne diseases but new agricultural practices as well as techniques in
precision agriculture and molecular detection of soilborne pathogens are finding solutions to
disease problems. Indigenous biocontrol Pseudomonas spp. such as those producing 2,4-
diacetylphloroglucinol and phenazine-1-carboxylic acid have a role in natural suppression of
disease, but their populations and role in disease suppression are also affected by changes in
agricultural practices.


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Impact of induced systemic resistance on the bacterial microbiome
of Arabidopsis thaliana

Rogier F. Doornbos, L. C. Van Loon, Peter A. H. M. Bakker

Abstract: Induced systemic resistance (ISR) has been described for several strains of fluorescent
pseudomonads in a variety of crop plants and is effective against a wide range of pathogens.
Using the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana, progress has been made in understanding signal
transduction pathways involved in induced resistance. Perception of ethylene and jasmonic acid
is important for ISR. The traits of Pseudomonas spp. that can trigger ISR appear to be diverse,
and include iron regulated metabolites, antibiotics, and lipopolysaccharides. Since pathogen
growth is restricted on plants that are in the state of ISR, we hypothesized that the indigenous
microflora could also be affected by ISR. Using cultivation dependent techniques, effects of plant
defense signaling on the total bacterial and the Pseudomonas spp. microflora of Arabidopsis were
studied and related to susceptibility of Arabidopsis genotypes to bacterial speck caused by
Pseudomonas syringae pv. tomato.


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