Soil enzyme activities in the rhizosphere of field-grown sugar beet inoculated with the biocontrol agent Pseudomonas fluorescens F113
Pseudomonas fluorescens F113, which produces the antimicrobial compound 2,4-diacetylphloroglucinol is a prospective biocontrol agent. Soil enzyme activities were used to investigate the ecological impact of strain F113 in the rhizosphere of field-grown sugar beet. There were distinct trends in rhizosphere enzyme activities in relation to soil chemistry (studied by electro-ultrafiltration). The activities of enzymes from the phosphorus cycle (acid phosphatase, alkaline phosphatase and phosphodiesterase) and of arylsulphatase were negatively correlated with the amount of readily available P, whereas urease activity was positively correlated with the latter. Significant correlations between electro-ultrafiltration nutrient levels and enzyme activity in the rhizosphere were obtained, highlighting the usefulness of enzyme assays to document variations in soil nutrient cycling. Contrary to previous microcosm studies, which did not investigate plants grown to maturity, the biocontrol inoculant had no effect on enzyme activity or on soil chemistry in the rhizosphere. The results show the importance of homogenous soil microcosm systems, used in previous work, in risk assessment studies, where inherent soil variability is minimised, and where an effect of the pseudomonad on soil enzymology could be detected.