Australian Journal of Botany Australian Journal of Botany Society
Southern hemisphere botanical ecosystems

Rhizosphere Microorganisms From the Jarrah Forest of Western Australia and Their Effects on Vegetative Growth and Sporulation in Phytophthora cinnamomi Rands

DIL Murray

Australian Journal of Botany 35(5) 567 - 580
Published: 1987


Soil dilution plate techniques were used to compare the numbers of bacteria, actinomycetes and fungi in the rhizospheres of Acacia pulchella, Banksia grandis and Eucalyptus marginata (jarrah). The most frequently isolated microorganisms and those detected in significantly different numbers in the rhizospheres of the three species were tested for their effects on sporangium production, zoospore discharge, zoospore germination and mycelial growth of the jarrah dieback pathogen Phytophthora cinnamomi.

The total population of fungi in rhizosphere soil from B. grandis was much greater than that found in the rhizospheres of the other two species while the convesse was true for bacteria and actinomycetes, of which the largest populations were associated with A. pulchella. Penicillium spinulosum outnum- bered the combined population of other fungi in the Banksia rhizosphere but formed a much smaller proportion of the jarrah and Acacia rhizosphere microfloras, particularly the latter. P. spinulosum had no effect on mycelial growth or zoospore discharge in P. cinnamomi; it had some ability to stimulete sporangium production and, although it partly suppressed spore germination, the inhibitory effect was less pronounced than that noted for most other microorganisms. In contrast, microorganisms which strongly inhibited mycelial growth, zoospore discharge and germination represented a greater proportion of the Acacia rhizosphere microflora compared with the other microfloras, especially that of B. grandis.

While some actinornycetes and fungi produced antibiotics that inhibited vegetative growth of P. cinnamomi in dual cultures, mycelial inhibition was often attributable to nutrient depletion of agar media by the test microorganisms. Similarly, nutrient deprivation resulting from microbial competition for substrates was also considered to be the stimulus for sporangium production in liquid media.

The results are discussed in relation to previously reported suppression of P. cinnamomi in forest soils beneath stands of A. pulchella and the associated implications of this for biological control of jarrah dieback.

© CSIRO 1987

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