Soil Type Dependent Rhizosphere Competence and Biocontrol of Two Bacterial Inoculant Strains and Their Effects on the Rhizosphere Microbial Community of Field-Grown Lettuce
Rhizosphere competence of bacterial inoculants is assumed to be important for successful biocontrol. Knowledge of factors influencing rhizosphere competence under field conditions is largely lacking. The present study is aimed to unravel the effects of soil types on the rhizosphere competence and biocontrol activity of the two inoculant strains Pseudomonas jessenii RU47 and Serratia plymuthica 3Re4-18 in field-grown lettuce in soils inoculated with Rhizoctonia solani AG1-IB or not. Two independent experiments were carried out in 2011 on an experimental plot system with three soil types sharing the same cropping history and weather conditions for more than 10 years. Rifampicin resistant mutants of the inoculants were used to evaluate their colonization in the rhizosphere of lettuce. The rhizosphere bacterial community structure was analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis of 16S rRNA gene fragments amplified from total community DNA to get insights into the effects of the inoculants and R. solani on the indigenous rhizosphere bacterial communities. Both inoculants showed a good colonization ability of the rhizosphere of lettuce with more than 106 colony forming units per g root dry mass two weeks after planting. An effect of the soil type on rhizosphere competence was observed for 3Re4-18 but not for RU47. In both experiments a comparable rhizosphere competence was observed and in the presence of the inoculants disease symptoms were either significantly reduced, or at least a non-significant trend was shown. Disease severity was highest in diluvial sand followed by alluvial loam and loess loam suggesting that the soil types differed in their conduciveness for bottom rot disease. Compared to effect of the soil type of the rhizosphere bacterial communities, the effects of the pathogen and the inoculants were less pronounced. The soil types had a surprisingly low influence on rhizosphere competence and biocontrol activity while they significantly affected the bottom rot disease severity.