Publications by authors named "Gerard W Korthals"

6 Publications

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Organic amendment strengthens interkingdom associations in the soil and rhizosphere of barley (Hordeum vulgare).

Sci Total Environ 2019 Dec 12;695:133885. Epub 2019 Aug 12.

Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Department of Microbial Ecology, Wageningen, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Anthropogenic modification of soil systems has diverse impacts on food web interactions and ecosystem functioning. To understand the positive, neutral or adverse effects of agricultural practices on the associations of community members of soil microbes and microfaunal biomes, we characterized the effects of different fertilization types (organic, inorganic and a combination of organic and inorganic) on the food web active communities in the bulk soil and rhizosphere compartments in field conditions. We examined the influence of fertilization on (i) individual groups (bacteria, protozoa and fungi as microbe representatives and metazoans as microfauna representatives) and (ii) inter-kingdom interactions (focusing on the interactions between bacteria and eukaryotic groups) both neglecting and considering environmental factors in our analysis in combination with the microbial compositional data. Our results revealed different patterns of biota communities under organic versus inorganic fertilization, which shaped food web associations in both the bulk and rhizosphere compartments. Overall, organic fertilization increased the complexity of microbial-microfaunal ecological associations with inter- and intra- connections among categories of primary decomposers (bacteria and fungi) and predators (protozoa and microfauna) and differences in potential function in the soil food web in both the bulk and rhizosphere compartments. Furthermore, the inter-connections between primary decomposers and predators in bulk soil were more pronounced when environmental factors were considered. We suggest that organic fertilization selects bacterial orders with different potential ecological functions and interactions as survival, predation and cooperation due to more complex environment than those of inorganic or combined fertilization. Our findings support the importance of a comprehensive understanding of trophic food web patterns for soil management systems.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.133885DOI Listing
December 2019

Single introductions of soil biota and plants generate long-term legacies in soil and plant community assembly.

Ecol Lett 2019 Jul 24;22(7):1145-1151. Epub 2019 Apr 24.

Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Department of Terrestrial Ecology, P.O. Box 50, 6700 AB, Wageningen, the Netherlands.

Recent demonstrations of the role of plant-soil biota interactions have challenged the conventional view that vegetation changes are mainly driven by changing abiotic conditions. However, while this concept has been validated under natural conditions, our understanding of the long-term consequences of plant-soil interactions for above-belowground community assembly is restricted to mathematical and conceptual model projections. Here, we demonstrate experimentally that one-time additions of soil biota and plant seeds alter soil-borne nematode and plant community composition in semi-natural grassland for 20 years. Over time, aboveground and belowground community composition became increasingly correlated, suggesting an increasing connectedness of soil biota and plants. We conclude that the initial composition of not only plant communities, but also soil communities has a long-lasting impact on the trajectory of community assembly.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/ele.13271DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6850328PMC
July 2019

Long-term farming systems modulate multi-trophic responses.

Sci Total Environ 2019 Jan 24;646:480-490. Epub 2018 Jul 24.

Department of Microbial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW), Wageningen, the Netherlands. Electronic address:

Soil microbiome and multi-trophic relationships are essential for the stability and functioning of agroecosystems. However, little is known about how farming systems and alternative methods for controlling plant pathogens modulate microbial communities, soil mesofauna and plant productivity. In this study, we assessed the composition of eukaryotic microbial groups using a high-throughput sequencing approach (18S rRNA gene marker), the populations of parasitic and free-living nematodes, plant productivity and their inter-relationships in long-term conventional and organic farming systems. The diversity of the fungal community increased in the organic farming system compared to the conventional farming system, whereas the diversity of the protist community was similar between the two farming systems. Compared to conventional farming, organic farming increased the population of free-living nematodes and suppressed plant parasitic nematodes belonging to Meloidogynidae and Pratylenchidae. Fungal diversity and community structure appeared to be related to nematode suppression in the system receiving organic fertilizer, which was characterized by component microbial groups known to be involved in the suppression of soil pathogens. Unraveling the microbiome and multi-trophic interactions in different farming systems may permit the management of the soil environment toward more sustainable control of plant pathogens.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.323DOI Listing
January 2019

Soil Microbiome Is More Heterogeneous in Organic Than in Conventional Farming System.

Front Microbiol 2016 4;7:2064. Epub 2017 Jan 4.

Department of Microbial Ecology, Netherlands Institute of Ecology (NIOO-KNAW) Wageningen, Netherlands.

Organic farming system and sustainable management of soil pathogens aim at reducing the use of agricultural chemicals in order to improve ecosystem health. Despite the essential role of microbial communities in agro-ecosystems, we still have limited understanding of the complex response of microbial diversity and composition to organic and conventional farming systems and to alternative methods for controlling plant pathogens. In this study we assessed the microbial community structure, diversity and richness using 16S rRNA gene next generation sequences and report that conventional and organic farming systems had major influence on soil microbial diversity and community composition while the effects of the soil health treatments (sustainable alternatives for chemical control) in both farming systems were of smaller magnitude. Organically managed system increased taxonomic and phylogenetic richness, diversity and heterogeneity of the soil microbiota when compared with conventional farming system. The composition of microbial communities, but not the diversity nor heterogeneity, were altered by soil health treatments. Soil health treatments exhibited an overrepresentation of specific microbial taxa which are known to be involved in soil suppressiveness to pathogens (plant-parasitic nematodes and soil-borne fungi). Our results provide a comprehensive survey on the response of microbial communities to different agricultural systems and to soil treatments for controlling plant pathogens and give novel insights to improve the sustainability of agro-ecosystems by means of beneficial microorganisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fmicb.2016.02064DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5209367PMC
January 2017

Chitin amendment increases soil suppressiveness toward plant pathogens and modulates the actinobacterial and oxalobacteraceal communities in an experimental agricultural field.

Appl Environ Microbiol 2013 Sep 28;79(17):5291-301. Epub 2013 Jun 28.

Department of Microbial Ecology, Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Studies, University of Groningen, Groningen, The Netherlands.

A long-term experiment on the effect of chitin addition to soil on the suppression of soilborne pathogens was set up and monitored for 8 years in an experimental field, Vredepeel, The Netherlands. Chitinous matter obtained from shrimps was added to soil top layers on two different occasions, and the suppressiveness of soil toward Verticillium dahliae, as well as plant-pathogenic nematodes, was assessed, in addition to analyses of the abundances and community structures of members of the soil microbiota. The data revealed that chitin amendment had raised the suppressiveness of soil, in particular toward Verticillium dahliae, 9 months after the (second) treatment, extending to 2 years following treatment. Moreover, major effects of the added chitin on the soil microbial communities were detected. First, shifts in both the abundances and structures of the chitin-treated soil microbial communities, both of total soil bacteria and fungi, were found. In addition, the abundances and structures of soil actinobacteria and the Oxalobacteraceae were affected by chitin. At the functional gene level, the abundance of specific (family-18 glycoside hydrolase) chitinase genes carried by the soil bacteria also revealed upshifts as a result of the added chitin. The effects of chitin noted for the Oxalobacteraceae were specifically related to significant upshifts in the abundances of the species Duganella violaceinigra and Massilia plicata. These effects of chitin persisted over the time of the experiment.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1128/AEM.01361-13DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3753968PMC
September 2013

Nematodes as sentinels of heavy metals and organic toxicants in the soil.

J Nematol 2006 Mar;38(1):13-9

Justus Liebig University, IFZ - Department of Animal Ecology, H.-Buff-Ring 26-32, D-35392 Giessen, Germany. Wageningen UR, Applied Plant Research - Arable Fanning and Field Production of Vegetables, PO Box 430, NL-8200 AK Lelystad, The Netherlands.

Field and laboratory research has repeatedly shown that free-living soil nematodes differ in their sensitivity to soil pollution. In this paper, we analyze whether nematode genera proved sensitive or tolerant toward heavy metals and organic pollutants in six long-term field experiments. We discuss overlaps between nematode physiological responses to heavy metals and to organic pollutants, which may explain why nematodes can exhibit co-tolerance toward several contaminants. We propose a simple method for separating direct effects of soil contamination on nematode populations from indirect effects mediated through the food chain. Finally, we analyze the extent to which nematodes exhibited consistent responses across the experiments analyzed. Our results show that (a) indirect effects of pollution were generally strong; (b) fewer nematode genera were tolerant than sensitive; (c) many genera, including practically all Adenophorea, exhibited a common response pattern to contaminants; and (d) several genera of the Secernentea exhibited differential tolerance toward particular pollutants. We conclude that bioindication of soil contamination should preferentially be based on tolerant, and less on sensitive, nematodes. We provide a list of nematode genera that may potentially serve as differential bioindicators for specific soil contaminants.
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http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2586444PMC
March 2006