Plants and Associated Soil Microbiota Cooperatively Suppress Plant-Parasitic Nematodes

Front Microbiol. 2020 Feb 28;11:313. doi: 10.3389/fmicb.2020.00313. eCollection 2020.


Disease suppressive soils with specific suppression of soil-borne pathogens and parasites have been long studied and are most often of microbiological origin. As for the plant-parasitic nematodes (PPN), which represent a huge threat to agricultural crops and which successfully defy many conventional control methods, soil progression from conducive to suppressive state is accompanied by the enrichment of specific antagonistic microbial consortia. However, a few microbial groups have come to the fore in diminishing PPN in disease suppressive soils using culture-dependent methods. Studies with cultured strains resulted in understanding the mechanisms by which nematodes are antagonized by microorganisms. Recent culture-independent studies on the microbiome associated with soil, plant roots, and PPN contributed to a better understanding of the functional potential of disease suppressive microbial cohort. Plant root exudation is an important pathway determining host-microbe communication and plays a key role in selection and enrichment of a specific set of microbial antagonists in the rhizosphere as first line of defense against crop pathogens or parasites. Root exudates comprising primary metabolites such as amino acids, sugars, organic acids, and secondary metabolites can also cause modifications in the nematode surface and subsequently affect microbial attachment. A positive interaction between hosts and their beneficial root microbiota is correlated with a low nematode performance on the host. In this review, we first summarized the historical records of nematode-suppressive soils and then focused on more recent studies in this aspect, emphasizing the advances in studying nematode-microbe interactions over time. We highlighted nematode biocontrol mechanisms, especially parasitism, induced systemic resistance, and volatile organic compounds using microbial consortia, or bacterial strains of the genera Pasteuria, Bacillus, Pseudomonas, Rhizobium, Streptomyces, Arthrobacter, and Variovorax, or fungal isolates of Pochonia, Dactylella, Nematophthora, Purpureocillium, Trichoderma, Hirsutella, Arthrobotrys, and Mortierella. We discussed the importance of root exudates in plant communication with PPN and soil microorganisms, emphasizing their role in microbial attachment to the nematode surface and subsequent events of nematode parasitism. Comprehensive understanding of the plant-beneficial microbial consortia and the mechanisms underlying disease suppression may help to develop synthetic microbial communities for biocontrol of PPN, thereby reducing nematicides and fertilizers inputs.

Keywords: disease-suppressive soils; induced systemic resistance; nematode antagonists; plant-parasitic nematodes; rhizosphere microbiome; root endophytes; root exudates.

Publication types

  • Review