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Phytopathology. 2011 Jul;101(7):819-27. doi: 10.1094/PHYTO-11-10-0310.

Exploring soil bacterial communities in different peanut-cropping sequences using multiple molecular approaches.

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Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology, Auburn University, Auburn, AL 36849, USA.


Soil bacterial communities have significant influence on soilborne plant pathogens and, thus, crop health. The present study focuses on ribotyping soil bacterial communities in different peanut-cropping sequences in Alabama. The objective was to identify changes in microbial assemblages in response to cropping sequences that can play a role in managing soilborne plant pathogens in peanut. Four peanut-cropping sequences were sampled at the Wiregrass Research Station, Headland, AL in 2006 and 2007, including continuous peanut, 4 years of bahiagrass followed by peanut, peanut-cotton, and peanut-corn-cotton. Soil sampling was done at early and mid-season and at harvest. Bacterial community structure was assessed using ribosomal intergenic spacer analysis (RISA) combined with 16S rRNA cloning and sequencing. RISA results indicated >70% dissimilarities among different cropping sequences. However, 90% similarities were noticed among replicated plots of the same cropping sequences. Cropping sequences and time of soil sampling had considerable effect on soil microbial community structure. Bahiagrass rotation with peanut was found to have the highest bacterial diversity, as indicated by a high Shannon Weaver Diversity index. Overall, higher bacterial diversity was observed with bahiagrass and corn rotations compared with continuous peanut. The bacterial divisions Proteobacteria, Acidobacteria, Firmicutes, Bacteroidetes, and Actinomycetes were the predominant bacterial phyla found in all peanut-cropping sequences. The Proteobacteria taxa in these soils were negatively correlated with the abundance of members of division Firmicutes but, conversely, had a significant positive correlation with Gemmatimonadetes taxa. The prevalence of the division Actinomycetes was negatively correlated with the relative abundance of members of division Verrucomicrobia. These results indicate complex interactions among soil bacteria that are important contributors to crop health.

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