Determining soil microbial communities and their influence on ganoderma disease incidences in oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) via high-throughput sequencing

Yit Kheng Goh, Muhammad Zarul Hanifah Md Zoqratt, You Keng Goh, Qasim Ayub, Adeline Su Yien Ting

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3 Citations (Scopus)


Basal stem rot (BSR), caused by Ganoderma boninense, is the most devastating oil palm disease in South East Asia, costing US$500 million annually. Various soil physicochemical parameters have been associated with an increase in BSR incidences. However, very little attention has been directed to understanding the relationship between soil microbiome and BSR incidence in oil palm fields. The prokaryotic and eukaryotic microbial diversities of two coastal soils, Blenheim soil (Typic Quartzipsamment—calcareous shell deposits, light texture) with low disease incidence (1.9%) and Bernam soil (Typic Endoaquept—non-acid sulfate) with high disease incidence (33.1%), were determined using the 16S (V3–V4 region) and 18S (V9 region) rRNA amplicon sequencing. Soil physicochemical properties (pH, electrical conductivity, soil organic matter, nitrogen, phosphorus, cation exchange capacity, exchangeable cations, micronutrients, and soil physical parameters) were also analyzed for the two coastal soils. Results revealed that Blenheim soil comprises higher prokaryotic and eukaryotic diversities, accompanied by higher pH and calcium content. Blenheim soil was observed to have a higher relative abundance of bacterial taxa associated with disease suppression such as Calditrichaeota, Zixibacteria, GAL15, Omnitrophicaeota, Rokubacteria, AKYG587 (Planctomycetes), JdFR-76 (Calditrichaeota), and Rubrobacter (Actinobacteria). In contrast, Bernam soil had a higher proportion of other bacterial taxa, Chloroflexi and Acidothermus (Actinobacteria). Cercomonas (Cercozoa) and Calcarisporiella (Ascomycota) were eukaryotes that are abundant in Blenheim soil, while Uronema (Ciliophora) and mammals were present in higher abundance in Bernam soil. Some of the bacterial taxa have been reported previously in disease-suppressive and-conducive soils as potential disease-suppressive or disease-inducible bacteria. Furthermore, Cercomonas was reported previously as potential bacterivorous flagellates involved in the selection of highly toxic biocontrol bacteria, which might contribute to disease suppression indirectly. The results from this study may provide valuable information related to soil microbial community structures and their association with soil characteristics and soil susceptibility to Ganoderma.

Original languageEnglish
Article number424
Number of pages21
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2020


  • Basal stem rot
  • Disease incidence
  • Microbiome
  • Suppressive soil

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