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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2019

Preceding crop and tillage system affect winter survival of wheat and the fungal communities on young wheat roots and in soil

Friberg, Hanna; Persson, Paula; Jensen, Dan Funck; Bergkvist, Goran


Agricultural practices like tillage and cropping sequence have profound influence on soil-living and plant-associated fungi, and thereby on plant growth. In a field experiment, we studied the effects of preceding crop and tillage on fungal communities in the soil and on young winter wheat roots in relation to plant winter survival and grain yield. We hypothesized that plant performance and fungal communities (described by amplicon sequencing) differ depending on tillage system and preceding crop; that the effect of preceding crop differs depending on tillage system, and that differences in fungal communities are reflected in plant performance. In line with our hypotheses, effects of preceding crop on plant growth and fungal communities on plant roots and in soil were more pronounced under non-inversion tillage than under inversion tillage (ploughing). Fungal communities on plant roots in treatments with low winter survival were different from those with better survival. In soil, several fungal OTUs (operational taxonomic units) differed significantly between tillage systems. OTUs representing putative plant pathogens were either more abundant (Parastagonospora sp._27) or less abundant (Fusarium culmorum/graminearum 5) after non-inversion tillage. Our findings highlight the influence of cultural practices on fungal communities and thereby on plant health and yield.


cropping system; cropping sequence; crop rotation; break crop; tillage; legacy effects

Published in

FEMS Microbiology Letters
2019, Volume: 366, number: 15, article number: fnz189