Soil biofumigation with brassica plant residues has been shown to significantly suppress soilborne pathogen. However, little published data reported the impact of biofumigation on microbial community structure in pepper (Capsicum annuum L.) production systems under field conditions. Biofumigation with rapeseed (Brassica napus 'Dwarf Essex') meal and chemical fumigation with dazomet were tested to control the pepper disease caused by Phytophthora capsici. BF treatment showed the lowest disease incidence among these treatments. Effects on soil bacterial and fungal communities were assessed by denaturating gradient gel electrophoresis and the results showed that the biofumigation increased bacterial diversity and decreased fungal diversity. There was a negative correlation between soil bacterial diversity and disease incidence and a positive correlation between soil fungal diversity and disease incidence. Cloning of the microbial community showed that the microbial community structures were altered by biofumigation. Soil was also evaluated for their chemical properties. Biofumigation increased soil content of total N, NO3(-)-N, available P and available K. A significant correlation between soil microbial community structures and soil chemical properties was found. Overall, these results indicated that biofumigation reduced disease incidence of pepper through altering soil microbial community structures.
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