Microbiome management by biological and chemical treatments in maize is linked to plant health

Peter Kusstatscher*, Wisnu Adi Wicaksono, Dhivya P Thenappan, Eveline Adam, Henry Müller, Gabriele Berg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The targeted application of plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) provides the key for a future sustainable agriculture with reduced pesticide application. PGPR interaction with the indigenous microbiota is poorly understood, but essential to develop reliable applications. Therefore, Stenotrophomonas rhizophila SPA-P69 was applied as a seed coating and in combination with a fungicide based on the active ingredients fludioxonil, metalaxyl-M, captan and ziram. The plant performances and rhizosphere compositions of treated and non-treated maize plants of two field trials were analyzed. Plant health was significantly increased by treatment; however, overall corn yield was not changed. By applying high-throughput amplicon sequencing of the 16S rRNA and the ITS genes, the bacterial and fungal changes in the rhizosphere due to different treatments were determined. Despite the fact that treatments had a significant impact on the rhizosphere microbiota (9–12%), the field site was identified as the main driver (27–37%). The soil microbiota composition from each site was significantly different, which explains the site-specific effects. In this study we were able to show the first indications how PGPR treatments increase plant health via microbiome shifts in a site-specific manner. This way, first steps towards a detailed understanding of PGPRs and developments of consistently efficient applications in diverse environments are made
Original languageEnglish
Article number1506
Pages (from-to)1-14
Number of pages14
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • 16S rRNA gene
  • Corn
  • Fungicide
  • ITS
  • Maize
  • Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria
  • Rhizosphere
  • Zea mays

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Virology
  • Microbiology


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