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Evaluation of the causes of legume yield depression syndrome using an improved diagnostic tool

Fuchs, Jacques G.; Thürig, Barbara; Brandhuber, Robert; Bruns, Christian; Finckh, Maria R.; Fließbach, Andreas; Mäder, Paul; Schmidt, Harald; Vogt-Kaute, Werner; Wilbois, Klaus-Peter and Lucius, Tamm (2014) Evaluation of the causes of legume yield depression syndrome using an improved diagnostic tool. Applied Soil Ecology, 79, pp. 26-36.

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Summary

The aim of the study was to establish a diagnostic tool to narrow down the causes for pea yield depressions. A differential two-level diagnostic test system was established under controlled conditions usingpeas (Pisum sativum L.) as test plants. Soils from 22 organically managed sites with unexplained moderate to high pea yield losses were tested in level 1 diagnostics (y-irradiation to eliminate potentiallyharmful organisms, nutrient additions to compensate for potential nutrient deficiencies or activated charcoal amendment to bind and thereby to immobilize potentially phytotoxic compounds). Results showedthat organisms harmful to the test plant were the primary cause of limited germination and growth inmost of the sampled soils, whereas a positive effect of nutrient addition was rarely found and toxinswere not involved. Level 2 diagnostics (pesticides targeting ascomycetes, oomycetes, Rhizoctonia spp.,nematodes) further narrowed down the organisms involved in yield depressions. Oomycetes were identified as the primary reason for limited germination rates, and, in some soils, also for limited growth ofestablished seedlings. In other soils, a multitude rather than a single group of pathogens was involved inlimited growth. Plantpathogenic nematodes were never found to be limiting for crop growth parameters. Harmful effects of pesticides were found in several soils, hinting at an important role of beneficialsoil organisms in the suppression of pathogens causing yield depression in legumes. The bioassay used inthe present study was robust and could thus serve as a low-cost tool for agricultural advisors and farm-ers to predict the risk of yield losses in legumes and to narrow down causes, helping them to develop appropriate strategies.


EPrint Type:Journal paper
Keywords:Gemüsebau, Pflanzenschutz, Bodenmüdigkeit, Pea, Organic agriculture, Soil fatigue, Soil-borne plant pathogens, Oomycetes
Agrovoc keywords:
LanguageValueURI
EnglishLegumeshttp://aims.fao.org/aos/agrovoc/c_4255
Subjects: Crop husbandry > Composting and manuring
Crop husbandry > Soil tillage
Research affiliation: Switzerland > FiBL - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture Switzerland > Crop Production > Vegetables/Ornamentals
Germany > FiBL Germany - Research Institute of Organic Agriculture
Germany > Naturland
Germany > Foundation Ecology & Agriculture -SÖL
Germany > University of Kassel
ISSN:0929-1393
Deposited By: Fuchs, Dr. Jacques G.
ID Code:25617
Deposited On:04 Apr 2014 18:35
Last Modified:04 Apr 2014 18:35
Document Language:English
Status:Published
Refereed:Peer-reviewed and accepted

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