Nontarget effects of foliar fungicide application on the rhizosphere: Diversity of nifH gene and nodulation in chickpea field
Yang, C., Hamel, C., Vujanovic, V., Gan, Y. (2012). Nontarget effects of foliar fungicide application on the rhizosphere: Diversity of nifH gene and nodulation in chickpea field, 112(5), 966-974. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2672.2012.05262.x
Aims: This study explores nontarget effects of fungicide application on field-grown chickpea. Methods and Results: Molecular methods were used to test the effects of foliar application of fungicide on the diversity and distribution of nifH genes associated with two chickpea cultivars and their nodulation. Treatments were replicated four times in a split-plot design in the field, in 2008 and 2009. Chemical disease control did not change the richness of the nifH genes associated with chickpea, but selected different dominant nifH gene sequences in 2008, as revealed by correspondence analysis. Disease control strategies had no significant effect on disease severity or nifH gene distribution in 2009. Dry weather conditions rather than disease restricted plant growth that year, suggesting that reduced infection rather than the fungicide is the factor modifying the distribution of nifH gene in chickpea rhizosphere. Reduced nodule size and enhanced N 2-fixation in protected plants indicate that disease control affects plant physiology, which may in turn influence rhizosphere bacteria. The genotypes of chickpea also affected the diversity of the nifH gene in the rhizosphere, illustrating the importance of plant selective effects on bacterial communities. Conclusions: We conclude that the chemical disease control affects nodulation and the diversity of nifH gene in chickpea rhizosphere, by modifying host plant physiology. A direct effect of fungicide on the bacteria cannot be ruled out, however, as residual amounts of fungicide were found to accumulate in the rhizosphere soil of protected plants. Significance and Impact of the Study: Systemic nontarget effect of phytoprotection on nifH gene diversity in chickpea rhizosphere is reported for the first time. This result suggests the possibility of manipulating associative biological nitrogen fixation in the field. © 2012 The Authors. Journal of Applied Microbiology © 2012 The Society for Applied Microbiology.
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