Biochar soil amendement: pinpointing microbial elucidatorsof induced systemic plant resistance


Abstract: Application of biochar to soil results in long term sequestration of fixed carbon as wellas improved soil quality and crop productivity. Furthermore, recent studies conducted in ourlaboratory indicate that soil-applied biochar promotes systemic resistance of plants to severalprominent foliar pathogens in a variety of crops such as tomato, pepper and strawberry. Wehypothesize that this phenomenon may be at least partially attributed to root-associated microbialelicitors whose presence is somehow augmented in the biochar-amended soils. To explore thishypothesis, we compared the bacterial community composition on roots of 3-month old pepperplants in biochar-amended and non-amended potting mixtures, using pyrosequencing of 16SrRNA gene tags. Flavobacterium was the most abundant genus detected on the roots, and relativeabundance of this group was almost three-fold higher in the biochar-amended samples then in thenon-amended samples. Research is currently focusing on the direct biocontrol capacity of rootassociatedflavobacterial isolates toward phytopathogenic fungi and nematodes and their potentialto induce resistance in plants against foliar pathogens.

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