Plant and Soil

, Volume 361, Issue 1–2, pp 343–357 | Cite as

Biocontrol of Rhizoctonia solani: complex interaction of biocontrol strains, pathogen and indigenous microbial community in the rhizosphere of lettuce shown by molecular methods

  • Rita Grosch
  • Simone Dealtry
  • Susanne Schreiter
  • Gabriele Berg
  • Leda Mendonça-Hagler
  • Kornelia Smalla
Regular Article


Background and aims

Co-inoculation of biocontrol agents with different modes of action is assumed to improve biocontrol activity. The present study aimed to investigate the effects of single or co-inoculation of Trichoderma viride strain GB7 and Serratia plymuthica strain 3Re4-18 on microbial communities in the rhizosphere of lettuce and their ability to suppress Rhizoctonia solani AG1-IB.


Growth chamber experiments with two different application modes were performed with single or co-inoculation of GB7 and 3Re4-18 in the presence or absence of R. solani. Biocontrol efficacy and plant growth parameters were assessed. Bacterial and fungal communities were analyzed by 16S rRNA gene and ITS fragments PCR-amplified from total community DNA of rhizosphere samples and analyzed by denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis.


Compared to the single application, the co-inoculation of 3Re4-18 and GB7 resulted in an improved biocontrol efficacy. DGGE analysis revealed more pronounced effect on microbial community in co-inoculation treatment. The abundance of 3Re4-18 in the rhizosphere seemed to be increased in the presence of R. solani.


The applied cultivation-independent methods provided insights into the complex interaction in response to the pathogen and the antagonists. Co-inoculation resulted in an improved biocontrol efficacy and an increased evenness of the microbial communities.


Biocontrol Co-inoculation Rhizosphere community 16S rRNA gene and ITS-based fingerprints 



The authors acknowledge the bilateral project between Brazil and Germany funded by the BMBF BRA 05/021 and the DFG SM59/11-1/GR568121. We would also like to thank Angelika Fandrey for her skilled technical assistance and Christin Zachow for her helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rita Grosch
    • 1
  • Simone Dealtry
    • 2
    • 4
  • Susanne Schreiter
    • 2
  • Gabriele Berg
    • 3
  • Leda Mendonça-Hagler
    • 4
  • Kornelia Smalla
    • 2
  1. 1.Leibniz-Institute of Vegetable and Ornamental CropsGroßbeerenGermany
  2. 2.Julius Kühn-Institut - Federal Research Centre for Cultivated Plants (JKI), Institute for Epidemiology and Pathogen DiagnosticsBraunschweigGermany
  3. 3.Graz University of Technology, Institute for Environmental BiotechnologyGrazAustria
  4. 4.Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Instituto de Microbiologia Prof. Paulo de Departmento de Microbiologia Geral-UFRJ GóesRio de JaneiroBrazil

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