Disease suppressive soils offer effective protection to plants against infection by soilborne pathogens, including fungi, oomycetes, bacteria, and nematodes. The specific disease suppression that operates in these soils is, in most cases, microbial in origin. Therefore, suppressive soils are considered as a rich resource for the discovery of beneficial microorganisms with novel antimicrobial and other plant protective traits. To date, several microbial genera have been proposed as key players in disease suppressiveness of soils, but the complexity of the microbial interactions as well as the underlying mechanisms and microbial traits remain elusive for most disease suppressive soils. Recent developments in next generation sequencing and other ‘omics’ technologies have provided new insights into the microbial ecology of disease suppressive soils and the identification of microbial consortia and traits involved in disease suppressiveness. Here, we review the results of recent ‘omics’-based studies
on the microbial basis of disease suppressive soils, with specific emphasis on the role of rhizosphere bacteria in this intriguing microbiological phenomenon.