Organic amendments to avocado crops induce suppressiveness and influence the composition and activity of soil microbial communities

Nuria Bonilla, Carmen Vida, Maira Martínez-Alonso, Blanca B. Landa, Nuria Gaju, Francisco M. Cazorla, Antonio De Vicente

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


© 2015, American Society for Microbiology. One of the main avocado diseases in southern Spain is white root rot caused by the fungus Rosellinia necatrix Prill. The use of organic soil amendments to enhance the suppressiveness of natural soil is an inviting approach that has successfully controlled other soilborne pathogens. This study tested the suppressive capacity of different organic amendments against R. necatrix and analyzed their effects on soil microbial communities and enzymatic activities. Two-year-old avocado trees were grown in soil treated with composted organic amendments and then used for inoculation assays. All of the organic treatments reduced disease development in comparison to unamended control soil, especially yard waste (YW) and almond shells (AS). The YW had a strong effect on microbial communities in bulk soil and produced larger population levels and diversity, higher hydrolytic activity and strong changes in the bacterial community composition of bulk soil, suggesting a mechanism of general suppression. Amendment with AS induced more subtle changes in bacterial community composition and specific enzymatic activities, with the strongest effects observed in the rhizosphere. Even if the effect was not strong, the changes caused by AS in bulk soil microbiota were related to the direct inhibition of R. necatrix by this amendment, most likely being connected to specific populations able to recolonize conducive soil after pasteurization. All of the organic amendments assayed in this study were able to suppress white root rot, although their suppressiveness appears to be mediated differentially.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3405-3418
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2015


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