Maintaining soil health is fundamental to successful crop production and ecosystem sustainability. Organically managed soils are often considered healthier than conventionally managed soils. High biological diversity, stability and resilience to disturbances, and suppression of pests and diseases are some of the characteristics of healthy soils. Plant disease suppressiveness is a quantifiable soil health characteristic that has been related to many other soil quality characteristics. On december 19, 2013 at 11:00 am, Ilya Senechkin will defend his thesis "Oligotrophic Bacteria and Root Disease Suppression in Organically Managed Soils".
His thesis is focused on soil health, organic farming, oligotrophic bacteria and suppression of soilborne pathogens. The main goal of this thesis was to assess the soil health status of organically managed soils with different organic amendments in terms of oligotrophy, plant disease suppression and components of the carbon and nitrogen cycles. One of the most interesting findings from his work on oligotrophic bacteria was the identification of an oligotrophic Collimonas sp. Strain that could directly be linked to disease suppression.
This thesis provides a better understanding of some aspects of soil health and emphasizes the role of oligotrophic bacteria, a poorly understood but very important group of soil inhabitants.