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Environmental Pollution
Volume 254, 2019, 113051

Selenium (Se) reduces Sclerotinia stem rot disease incidence of oilseed rape by increasing plant Se concentration and shifting soil microbial community and functional profiles

Kang Liu1, Miaomiao Cai1, Chengxiao Hu, Xuecheng Sun, Qin Cheng, Wei Jia, Tao Yang, Min Nie, Xiaohu Zhao

Key Laboratory of Arable Land Conservation (Middle and Lower Reaches of Yangtze River), Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs/Hubei Provincial Engineering Laboratory for New Fertilizers/Research Center of Trace Elements, College of Resources and Environment, Huazhong Agricultural University, Wuhan 430070, China.


Sclerotinia stem rot (SSR), a soil-borne plant disease, cause the yield loss of oilseed rape. Selenium (Se), a beneficial element of plant, improves plant resistance to pathogens, and regulates microbial communities in soil. Soil microbial communities has been identified to play an important role in plant health. We studied whether the changes in soil microbiome under influence of Se associated with oilseed rape health. SSR disease incidence of oilseed rape and soil biochemical properties were investigated in Enshi district, “The World Capital of Selenium”, and soil bacterial and fungal communities were analyzed by 16S rRNA and ITS sequencing, respectively. Results showed that Se had a strong effect on SSR incidence, and disease incidence inversely related with plant Se concentration. Besides, soil Se enhanced the microbiome diversities and the relative abundance of PGPR (plant growth promoting rhizobacteria), such as Bryobacter, NitrospiraeRhizobialesXanthobacteraceaeNitrosomonadaceae and Basidiomycota. Furthermore, Soil Se decreased the relative abundance of pathogenic fungi, such as OlpidiumArmillariaConiosporiumMicrobotryomycetes and Chytridiomycetes. Additionally, Se increased nitrogen metabolism, carbohydrate metabolism and cell processes related functional profiles in soil. The enrichment of Se in plants and improvement of soil microbial community were related to increased plant resistance to pathogen infection. These findings suggested that Se has potential to be developed as an ecological fungicide for biological control of SSR.

Graphical abstract

Keywords: Sclerotinia stem rot, Selenium, Soil, Microbial community, Functional profiles.

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