Effects of Pseudomonas fluorescens F113 on Ecological Functions in the Pea Rhizosphere Are Dependent on pH
The aim of this microcosm study was to determine influence of the antibiotic 2,4 diacetylphloroglucinol (DAPG) on the effect of wild type and functionally modified Pseudomonas fluorescens F113 strains in a sandy loam soil of pH 5.4 planted with pea (Pisum sativum var Montana). The functional modification of strain F113 was a repressed production of DAPG, useful in plant disease control, creating the DAPG negative strain F113 G22 both were marked with a lacZY gene cassette. Lowering the soil pH to 4.4 significantly reduced the plant shoot and root weights and the root length, whereas, the bacterial inocula had no significant effect. However, both inocula significantly reduced the shoot/root ratio at pH 5.4 but this effect was not evident at the lowered or elevated (6.4) pH levels. The decrease in pH significantly increased the fungal and yeast colony forming units from the rhizosphere (root extract) but did not affect the total bacterial cfu’s. Inoculation with strain F113 in the pH 4.4 soil resulted in a significantly greater total bacterial population The fungal and yeast cfu’s were not significantly affected by the inocula under any of the pH’s studied Increasing the pH significantly increased the indigenous Pseudomonas population in comparison to the reduced pH treatment and significantly increased both the introduced and total Pseudomonas populations. The antibiotic producing strain significantly reduced the total bacterial population and the NAGase activity (related to fungal activity) at pH 6.4 where the inocula population was the greatest. Alkaline phosphatase, phosphodiesterase, aryl sulphatase, glucosidase, alkaline galactosidase and NAGase activities significantly increased with increasing in pH. The F113 inocula reduced the acid phosphatase activity at pH 5.4 and increased the acid galactosidase activity over all the pH treatments. The results presented illustrate the variation in impact with soil pH, with implications for variability in efficacy of Pseudomonas fluorescens biocontrol agents with soil pH.