Previous crop and rotation history effects on maize seedling health and associated rhizosphere microbiome.
ABSTRACT: To evaluate crop rotation effects on maize seedling performance and its associated microbiome, maize plants were grown in the greenhouse in soils preceded by either maize, pea, soybean or sunflower. Soils originated from a replicated field experiment evaluating different four-year rotation combinations. In the greenhouse, a stressor was introduced by soil infestation with western corn rootworm (WCR) or Fusarium graminearum. Under non-infested conditions, maize seedlings grown in soils preceded by sunflower or pea had greater vigor. Stress with WCR or F. graminearum resulted in significant root damage. WCR root damage was equivalent for seedlings regardless of soil provenance; whereas F. graminearum root damage was significantly lower in maize grown in soils preceded by sunflower. Infestation with WCR affected specific microbial taxa (Acinetobacter, Smaragdicoccus, Aeromicrobium, Actinomucor). Similarly, F. graminearum affected fungal endophytes including Trichoderma and Endogone. In contrast to the biological stressors, rotation sequence had a greater effect on rhizosphere microbiome composition, with larger effects observed for fungi compared to bacteria. In particular, relative abundance of Glomeromycota was significantly higher in soils preceded by sunflower or maize. Defining the microbial players involved in crop rotational effects in maize will promote selection and adoption of favorable crop rotation sequences.
Project description:The production of American ginseng (Panax quinquefolius L.) is severely limited by the replant disorders in China. Crop rotation with maize might reduce the replant problems, but little information is available on the effect of maize rotation on soil cultivated with ginseng. In this study, we analyzed nutrients, phenolic acids, and microbial communities in soils from the fields with continuous maize, mono-culture ginseng, and 1-, 3-, and 5-year maize rotation after ginseng. Pot experiments were also conducted to evaluate the performance of replanting ginseng in these soils. The results showed that Mn, Cu, and 5 phenolic acids in ginseng-cultivated soil were significantly decreased by maize rotation. A 5-year maize rotation significantly increased the relative abundance of beneficial soil bacteria, such as Arthrobacter, rather than decreasing the abundances of potential pathogenic genera. Clustering analysis revealed that the physicochemical properties and microbial communities of 3- and 5-year maize rotation soil were more similar to CM than to G soil. The biomass of replanted ginseng root was improved, and root disease was reduced over 3 years of maize rotation. Overall, the results showed that at least a 3-year maize rotation is needed to overcome the replant failure of American ginseng.
Project description:Rice is one of the most important nourishments and its cultivation binds large agricultural areas in the world. Its cultivation leads to huge water consumption and high methane emissions. To diminish these problems, crop rotation between paddy rice and maize is introduced in Asia, but can lead to losses of carbon and water by the formation of desiccation cracks. To counteract these problems rice straw can be applied. We analyzed soil microbial responses to different crop rotation systems [rice-rice (RR), maize-maize (MM), maize-rice (MR)] and to rice straw application in the soil and rhizosphere of maize. Zea mays was grown in microcosms using soils from different field locations, each including different crop rotation regimes. The bacterial and fungal community composition was analyzed by 16S rRNA gene and ITS based amplicon sequencing in the bulk soil and rhizosphere. The microbiota was clearly different in soils from the different field locations (analysis of similarity, ANOSIM: R = 0.516 for the bacterial community; R = 0.817 for the fungal community). Within the field locations, crop rotation contributed differently to the variation in microbial community composition. Strong differences were observed in communities inhabiting soils under monosuccession (RR vs. MM) (ANOSIM: R = 0.923 for the bacterial and R = 0.714 for the fungal community), while the communities in soils undergoing MR crop rotation were more similar to those of the corresponding RR soils (ANOSIM: R = 0.111-0.175). The observed differences could be explained by altered oxygen availabilities in RR and MR soils, resulting in an enrichment of anaerobic bacteria in the soils, and the presence of the different crops, leading to the enrichment of host-plant specific microbial communities. The responses of the microbial communities to the application of rice straw in the microcosms were rather weak compared to the other factors. The taxa responding in bulk soil and rhizosphere were mostly distinct. In conclusion, this study revealed that the different agricultural management practices affect microbial community composition to different extent, not only in the bulk soil but also in the rhizosphere, and that the microbial responses in bulk soil and rhizosphere are distinct.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Larvae of the Western Corn Rootworm (WCR) feeding on maize roots cause heavy economical losses in the US and in Europe. New or adapted pest management strategies urgently require a better understanding of the multitrophic interaction in the rhizosphere. This study aimed to investigate the effect of WCR root feeding on the microbial communities colonizing the maize rhizosphere. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In a greenhouse experiment, maize lines KWS13, KWS14, KWS15 and MON88017 were grown in three different soil types in presence and in absence of WCR larvae. Bacterial and fungal community structures were analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis (DGGE) of the 16S rRNA gene and ITS fragments, PCR amplified from the total rhizosphere community DNA. DGGE bands with increased intensity were excised from the gel, cloned and sequenced in order to identify specific bacteria responding to WCR larval feeding. DGGE fingerprints showed that the soil type and the maize line influenced the fungal and bacterial communities inhabiting the maize rhizosphere. WCR larval feeding affected the rhiyosphere microbial populations in a soil type and maize line dependent manner. DGGE band sequencing revealed an increased abundance of Acinetobacter calcoaceticus in the rhizosphere of several maize lines in all soil types upon WCR larval feeding. CONCLUSION/SIGNIFICANCE: The effects of both rhizosphere and WCR larval feeding seemed to be stronger on bacterial communities than on fungi. Bacterial and fungal community shifts in response to larval feeding were most likely due to changes of root exudation patterns. The increased abundance of A. calcoaceticus suggested that phenolic compounds were released upon WCR wounding.
Project description:Intercropping, which grows at least two crop species on the same pieces of land at the same time, can increase grain yields greatly. Legume-grass intercrops are known to overyield because of legume nitrogen fixation. However, many agricultural soils are deficient in phosphorus. Here we show that a new mechanism of overyielding, in which phosphorus mobilized by one crop species increases the growth of a second crop species grown in alternate rows, led to large yield increases on phosphorus-deficient soils. In 4 years of field experiments, maize (Zea mays L.) overyielded by 43% and faba bean (Vicia faba L.) overyielded by 26% when intercropped on a low-phosphorus but high-nitrogen soil. We found that overyielding of maize was attributable to below-ground interactions between faba bean and maize in another field experiment. Intercropping with faba bean improved maize grain yield significantly and above-ground biomass marginally significantly, compared with maize grown with wheat, at lower rates of P fertilizer application (<75 kg of P(2)O(5) per hectare), and not significantly at high rate of P application (>112.5 kg of P(2)O(5) per hectare). By using permeable and impermeable root barriers, we found that maize overyielding resulted from its uptake of phosphorus mobilized by the acidification of the rhizosphere via faba bean root release of organic acids and protons. Faba bean overyielded because its growth season and rooting depth differed from maize. The large increase in yields from intercropping on low-phosphorus soils is likely to be especially important on heavily weathered soils.
Project description:AIM:To evaluate biological control agents (BCAs) against Fusarium graminearum on infected maize stalks as a means to reduce Fusarium head blight (FHB) in subsequently grown wheat. METHODS AND RESULTS:In the laboratory, BCAs were applied against F. graminearum on maize stalk pieces. Clonostachys rosea inhibited the perithecia development and ascospore discharge when applied before, simultaneously with and after the pathogen. In the field, we simulated a system with high disease pressure, that is, a maize-wheat rotation under no-tillage, by preparing maize stalks inoculated with F. graminearum. The infected stalks were treated with formulations of C. rosea selected in vitro or the commercial BCA strain Trichoderma atrobrunneum ITEM908 and exposed to field conditions over winter and spring between winter wheat rows. Monitoring with spore traps and of FHB symptoms, as well as quantification of F. graminearum incidence and DNA in harvested grain revealed significant reductions by C. rosea by up to 85, 91, 69 and 95% compared with an inoculated but untreated positive control, respectively. Deoxynivalenol (DON) and zearalenone (ZEN) contents were reduced by up to 93 and 98%, respectively. Treatments with T. atrobrunneum were inconsistent, with significant reductions of DON and ZEN under warm and wet climatic conditions only. CONCLUSIONS:The findings support the application of C. rosea against F. graminearum on residues of maize to suppress the primary inoculum of FHB. SIGNIFICANCE AND IMPACT OF THE STUDY:As sustainable agriculture requires solutions to control FHB, hence, the application of C. rosea during the mulching of maize crop residues should be evaluated in on-farm experiments.
Project description:Fusarium species are common pathogens on maize and reduce the product quality through contamination with mycotoxins thus jeopardizing safety of both animal feed and human food products. Monitoring of Fusarium infected maize ears and stalks was conducted in Germany to determine the range of Fusarium species present in the field and to assess the impact of tillage, crop rotation, and weather conditions on the frequency of Fusarium species. From 2016 till 2018, a total of 387 infected ears and 190 stalk segments from 58 locations in Germany were collected. For each sample location, site-specific agronomic data on tillage and previous crops as well as meteorological data on precipitation, air temperature, and relative humidity during the vegetation period were recorded. The most frequent Fusarium species detected in maize ears were Fusarium graminearum, F. verticillioides and F. temperatum, whereas, F. graminearum, F. equiseti, F. culmorum, and F. temperatum were the species prevailing on maize stalks. Differences in the local species composition were found to be primarily associated with weather variations between the years and the microclimate at the different locations. The results indicate that mean temperature and precipitation in July, during flowering, has the strongest impact on the local range of Fusarium spp. on ears, whereas the incidence of Fusarium species on stalks is mostly affected by weather conditions during September. Ploughing significantly reduced the infection with F. graminearum and F. temperatum, while crop rotation exerted only minor effects.
Project description:The complex interactions among the maize pest Western Corn Rootworm (WCR), Glomus intraradices (GI-recently renamed Rhizophagus intraradices) and the microbial communities in both rhizosphere and endorhiza of maize have been investigated in view of new pest control strategies. In a greenhouse experiment, different maize treatments were established: C (control plants), W (plants inoculated with WCR), G (plants inoculated with GI), GW (plants inoculated with GI and WCR). After 20 days of WCR root feeding, larval fitness was measured. Dominant arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in soil and maize endorhiza were analyzed by cloning of 18S rRNA gene fragments of AMF, restriction fragment length polymorphism and sequencing. Bacterial and fungal communities in the rhizosphere and endorhiza were investigated by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S rRNA gene and ITS fragments, PCR amplified from total community DNA, respectively. GI reduced significantly WCR larval development and affected the naturally occurring endorhiza AMF and bacteria. WCR root feeding influenced the endorhiza bacteria as well. GI can be used in integrated pest management programs, rendering WCR larvae more susceptible to predation by natural enemies. The mechanisms behind the interaction between GI and WCR remain unknown. However, our data suggested that GI might act indirectly via plant-mediated mechanisms influencing the endorhiza microbial communities.
Project description:Climate change is predicted to increase the risk of drought in many temperate agroecosystems. While the impact of drought on aboveground plant-herbivore-natural enemy interactions has been studied, little is known about its effects on belowground tritrophic interactions and root defense chemistry. We investigated the effects of low soil moisture on the interaction between maize, the western corn rootworm (WCR, Diabrotica virgifera), and soil-borne natural enemies of WCR. In a manipulative field experiment, reduced soil moisture and WCR attack reduced plant performance and increased benzoxazinoid levels. The negative effects of WCR on cob dry weight and silk emergence were strongest at low moisture levels. Inoculation with entomopathogenic nematodes (EPNs, Heterorhabditis bacteriophora) was ineffective in controlling WCR, and the EPNs died rapidly in the warm and dry soil. However, ants of the species Solenopsis molesta invaded the experiment, were more abundant in WCR-infested pots and predated WCR independently of soil moisture. Ant presence increased root and shoot biomass and was associated with attenuated moisture-dependent effects of WCR on maize cob weight. Our study suggests that apart from directly reducing plant performance, drought can also increase the negative effects of root herbivores such as WCR. It furthermore identifies S. molesta as a natural enemy of WCR that can protect maize plants from the negative impact of herbivory under drought stress. Robust herbivore natural enemies may play an important role in buffering the impact of climate change on plant-herbivore interactions.
Project description:Suboptimal nitrogen (N) availability is a primary constraint for crop production in developing countries, while in developed countries, intensive N fertilization is a primary economic, energy, and environmental cost for crop production. We tested the hypothesis that under low-N conditions, maize (Zea mays) lines with few but long (FL) lateral roots would have greater axial root elongation, deeper rooting, and greater N acquisition than lines with many but short (MS) lateral roots. Maize recombinant inbred lines contrasting in lateral root number and length were grown with adequate and suboptimal N in greenhouse mesocosms and in the field in the USA and South Africa (SA). In low-N mesocosms, the FL phenotype had substantially reduced root respiration and greater rooting depth than the MS phenotype. In low-N fields in the USA and SA, the FL phenotype had greater rooting depth, shoot N content, leaf photosynthesis, and shoot biomass than the MS phenotype. The FL phenotype yielded 31.5% more than the MS phenotype under low N in the USA. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that sparse but long lateral roots improve N capture from low-N soils. These results with maize probably pertain to other species. The FL lateral root phenotype merits consideration as a selection target for greater crop N efficiency.
Project description:Western corn rootworm (Diabrotica virgifera) (WCR) depends on the continuous availability of corn. Broad adoption of annual crop rotation between corn (Zea mays) and nonhost soybean (Glycine max) exploited WCR biology to provide excellent WCR control, but this practice dramatically reduced landscape heterogeneity in East-central Illinois and imposed intense selection pressure. This selection resulted in behavioral changes and "rotation-resistant" (RR) WCR adults. Although soybeans are well defended against Coleopteran insects by cysteine protease inhibitors, RR-WCR feed on soybean foliage and remain long enough to deposit eggs that will hatch the following spring and larvae will feed on roots of planted corn. Other than documenting changes in insect mobility and egg laying behavior, 15 years of research have failed to identify any diagnostic differences between wild-type (WT)- and RR-WCR or a mechanism that allows for prolonged RR-WCR feeding and survival in soybean fields. We documented differences in behavior, physiology, digestive protease activity (threefold to fourfold increases), and protease gene expression in the gut of RR-WCR adults. Our data suggest that higher constitutive activity levels of cathepsin L are part of the mechanism that enables populations of WCR to circumvent soybean defenses, and thus, crop rotation. These new insights into the mechanism of WCR tolerance of soybean herbivory transcend the issue of RR-WCR diagnostics and management to link changes in insect gut proteolytic activity and behavior with landscape heterogeneity. The RR-WCR illustrates how agro-ecological factors can affect the evolution of insects in human-altered ecosystems.