The initial soil microbiota impacts the potential for lignocellulose degradation during soil solarization

J Appl Microbiol. 2019 Jun;126(6):1729-1741. doi: 10.1111/jam.14258. Epub 2019 Apr 29.


Aims: Soil biosolarization (SBS) is a pest control technology that includes the incorporation of organic matter into soil prior to solarization. The objective of this study was to measure the impact of the initial soil microbiome on the temporal evolution of genes encoding lignocellulose-degrading enzymes during SBS.

Methods and results: Soil biosolarization field experiments were completed using green waste (GW) as a soil amendment and in the presence and absence of compost activating inoculum. Samples were collected over time and at two different soil depths for measurement of the microbial community and the predicted lignocellulosic-degrading microbiome. Compost inoculum had a significant positive effect on several predicted genes encoding enzymes involved in cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin degradation. These included beta-glucosidase, endo-1,3(4)-beta-glucanase, alpha-galactosidase and laccase.

Conclusion: Amendment of micro-organisms found in compost to soil prior to SBS enhanced the degradation potential of cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin found in GW.

Significance and impact of the study: The type of organic matter amended and its biotransformation by soil micro-organisms impact the efficacy of SBS. The results suggest that co-amending highly recalcitrant biomass with micro-organisms found in compost improves biomass conversion during SBS.

Keywords: anaerobic soil disinfestation; biological soil disinfestation; biosolarization; lignocellulose degradation; soil microbiome; soil solarization.

MeSH terms

  • Biomass
  • Composting / methods*
  • Environmental Restoration and Remediation / methods*
  • Lignin / metabolism*
  • Microbiota* / genetics
  • Soil
  • Soil Microbiology*
  • Sunlight


  • Soil
  • lignocellulose
  • Lignin