Selective influence of volatiles purged from coniferous forest and nursery soils on microbes of a nursery soil
Schisler, D.A.; Linderman, R.G.
Soil Biology and Biochemistry 21(3): 389-396
Numerous genera of ectomycorrhizal fungi and other soil microbes produce volatile compounds in vitro. The consequence of in vivo volatile production by soil microorganisms is unknown largely due to difficulties in separating volatile effects from other microbially mediated effects. An apparatus which slowly purges volatiles from a "donor" test soil into a "receiver" soil was used to determine differential effects of volatiles from "donor" forest or nursery soils on Fusarium and other microbial populations of a "receiver" nursery soil. "Donor" soils were either treated or not with methyl bromide and aerated-steam, and were planted or not with Douglas-fir seedlings. "Donor" soil origin and tree presence significantly altered populations of several taxonomic and functional microbial groups in "receiver" nursery soils, demonstrating for the first time that soil volatiles selectively influence soil microbe populations in vivo. Though functional microbial group populations were differentially altered by volatiles from forest and nursery soils, the importance of this phenomenon in relation to Fusarium exclusion from coniferous forest soils is not readily determinable.