Effects of Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) Rotations with Peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) on Nematode Populations and Soil Microflora
AbstractA 3-year field rotation study was conducted to assess the potential of switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) to suppress root-knot nematodes (Meloidogyne arenaria), southern blight (Sclerotium rolfsii), and aflatoxigenic fungi (Aspergillus sp.) in peanut (Arachis hypogaea L.) and to assess shifts in microbial populations following crop rotation. Switchgrass did not support populations of root-knot nematodes but supported high populations of nonparasitic nematodes. Peanut with no nematicide applied and following 2 years of switchgrass had the same nematode populations as continuous peanut plus nematicide. Neither previous crop nor nematicide significantly reduced the incidence of pods infected with Aspergillus. However, pod invasion by A. flavus was highest in plots previously planted with peanut and not treated with nematicide. Peanut with nematicide applied at planting following 2 years of switchgrass had significantly less incidence of southern blight than either continuous peanut without nematicide application or peanut without nematicide following 2 years of cotton. Peanut yield did not differ among rotations in either sample year. Effects of crop rotation on the microbial community structure associated with peanut were examined using indices for diversity, richness, and similarity derived from culture-based analyses. Continuous peanut supported a distinctly different rhizosphere bacterial microflora compared to peanut following 1 year of switchgrass, or continuous switchgrass. Richness and diversity indices for continuous peanut rhizosphere and geocarposphere were not consistently different from peanut following switchgrass, but always differed in the specific genera present. These shifts in community structure were associated with changes in parasitic nematode populations.
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