Submitted to: Annual Review of Phytopathology
Publication Type: Review Article
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/1/2003
Publication Date: 2/9/2004
Citation: Mazzola, M. 2004. Assessment and management of soil microbial community structure for disease suppression. Annual Review of Phytopathology. 42:35-59.
Technical Abstract: Identification of the biological properties contributing to the function of suppressive soils is a necessary first step to the management of such systems for use in the control of soilborne diseases. The development and application of molecular methods for the characterization and monitoring of soil microbial properties will enable a more rapid and detailed assessment of the biological nature of soil suppressiveness. Though suppressive soils have provided a wealth of microbial resources that have subsequently been applied for the biological control of soilborne plant pathogens, the full functional capabilities of the phenomena have not been realized in production agricultural ecosytems. Cultural practices such as the application of soil amendments have the capacity to enhance suppressive, though the biological modes of action may vary from that initially resident to the soil. Plants have a distinct impact on characteristics and activity of resident soil microbial communities, and therefore play an important role in determinng the development of the disease suppressive state. Likewise, plant genotype will modulate these same communities, and should be considered when developing systems to exploit the potential of such a natural disease control phenomenon. Implementation of effective strategies to manage this resource in an economically and environmentally feasible manner will require more detailed investigation of these biologically complex systems and refinement of currently available methods.