Development of a defined compost system for the study of plant-microbe interactions

A - Papers appearing in refereed journals

Masters-Clark, E., Hirsch, P. R., Clark, I. M., Paradelo, M. and Mauchline, T. H. 2020. Development of a defined compost system for the study of plant-microbe interactions. Scientific Reports. 10, p. 7521.

AuthorsMasters-Clark, E., Hirsch, P. R., Clark, I. M., Paradelo, M. and Mauchline, T. H.

Plant growth promoting rhizobacteria can improve plant health by providing enhanced nutrition, disease suppression and abiotic stress resistance, and have potential to contribute to sustainable agriculture. We have developed a sphagnum peat-based compost platform for investigating plant-microbe interactions. The chemical, physical and biological status of the system can be manipulated to understand the relative importance of these factors for plant health, demonstrated using three case studies: 1. Nutrient depleted compost retained its structure, but plants grown in this medium were severely stunted in growth due to removal of essential soluble nutrients - particularly, nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. compost nutrient status was replenished with the addition of selected soluble nutrients, validated by plant biomass; 2. When comparing milled and unmilled compost, we found nutrient status to be more important than matrix structure for plant growth; 3. In compost deficient in soluble P, supplemented with an insoluble inorganic form of P (Ca3(PO4)2), application of a phosphate solubilising Pseudomonas strain to plant roots provides a significant growth boost when compared with a Pseudomonas strain incapable of solubilising ca3(PO4)2. Our findings show that the compost system can be manipulated to impose biotic and abiotic stresses for testing how microbial inoculants influence plant growth.

Year of Publication2020
JournalScientific Reports
Journal citation10, p. 7521
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)
Open accessPublished as ‘gold’ (paid) open access
FunderBiotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council
Funder project or codeS2N - Soil to Nutrition - Work package 1 (WP1) - Optimising nutrient flows and pools in the soil-plant-biota system
Publisher's version
Supplemental file
Output statusPublished
Publication dates
Online05 May 2020
Publication process dates
Accepted10 Apr 2020
PublisherNature Publishing Group
Other fileDevelopment%20of%20a%20compost%20system%20for%20the%20study%20of%20plant-microbe%20interactions%20.pdf

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