Simulated Leaching of Foliar Applied Copper Bactericides on the Soil Microbiome Utilizing Various Beta Diversity Resemblance Measurements

Microbiol Spectr. 2022 May 10:e0148121. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.01481-21. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

Copper bactericides are routinely used to control Xanthomonas perforans (XP), causal agent of bacterial spot of tomato. Given the widespread tolerance to copper in XP strains in FL, USA, nanotechnology-based elemental composites have gained interest for their potential applications in agriculture in part due to their enhanced antimicrobial properties and toxicity to copper-tolerant strains. However, little is known about the potential impact of conventional copper bactericides as well as nano-based elemental composites on soil microbial communities, as determined by high-throughput sequencing of the 16S rDNA. We compared the effects of 2 and 200 μg/mL of core-shell (CS), a metallic copper composite, and a conventional copper bactericide + mancozeb (Cu+Man) on the soil microbiome. These treatments were compared to three controls, the microbial profile of the soil prior to application of copper products, a water application, and spiking the soil with a soilborne phytobacterium, Ralstonia solanacearum (RS). The RS treatment was included to determine if downstream analysis could detect the artificial inoculation. Utilizing multiple β diversity measurements, each emphasizing various tenets of ecology, provided a greater perspective of the effects the treatments had on the microbiome. Analysis of HTS data revealed that the two treatments containing field applied rates of metallic copper, CS 200 and Cu+Man, had the largest impact on the soil microbiome at seven-days posttreatment compared to water. However, we simulated field applied rates of CS 200 entering the soil by treating soil with CS 2 and determined this concentration had a negligible effect on the soil microbiome. IMPORTANCE Nanotechnology-based elemental composites have gained popularity for their potential applications in plant disease management due to their enhanced antimicrobial properties. However, little is known about their potential impact on the environment. Foliar applications of nano metallic composites upon leaching into the soil have the potential to impact soil microbial populations that in turn influence soil health. Utilizing multiple β diversity measurements, high-throughput sequencing analysis revealed that field applied rates of metallic copper (200 μg/mL) from an advanced copper composite (core-shell [CS]) and a conventional copper bactericide in combination with mancozeb had the largest impact on the soil microbiome compared to water and nontreated control. To simulate leaching from the leaf surface, a lower concentration (2 μg/mL) of CS was also applied to the soil and had a negligible effect on the soil microbiome. Thus, field applied rates of CS may have a minimal effect on soil microbial communities.

PMID:35536029 | DOI:10.1128/spectrum.01481-21

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