Discovering naturally-occurring microbiota in disease suppressive soil: Potential role of biological elements in suppressing Ganoderma boninense

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Blenheim soil (Typic Quartzipsamment) and Bernam soil (Typic Endoaquept) with low and high Ganoderma basal stem rot (BSR) incidence, respectively, were studied to determine the role of naturally-occurring microbiota in suppressing basal stem rot (BSR) disease in oil palm. These coastal soils were also compared against a typical soil for nursery use, the inland Bungor soil (Typic Kandiudults). For each soil type, half of the soils were sterilized by autoclaving, and the other half were non-sterilized. These soils were then used for the microbiome analysis, evaluation of disease incidences, and effect on plant growth. Soil microbial communities were profiled using 16S and 18S ribosomal RNA gene amplicon sequencing on the Illumina MiSeq. Polybag trials were conducted over a period of 20 weeks. Results showed that by eliminating or inactivating the indigenous microbial communities from BSR-suppressive Blenheim soil through sterilization, this increased BSR incidences (from 50 to 92%) and severity (from 28 to 78%), and affected plant growth (reduction of 35% leaf area, 11% height, and 19% bole's girth). Soil microbiome analysis revealed that Acidobacteriota, Nitrospirota, Latesbaciterota, Nanoarchaeota, Entotheonellaeta, Zixibacteria, Candidatus Yanofskybacteria (Patescibacteria), MB-A2-108 (Actinobacteriota), Cnidaria and Acaulospora (Mucoromycota) were less prevalent in sterilized Blenheim soil compared to non-sterilized Blenheim soil. Relative abundance of the genus Ganoderma was also lower in BSR-suppressive Blenheim soil compared to sterilized Blenheim soil. In contrast, disease development and plant growth remained unaffected by sterilization of BSR-conducive Bernam and Bungor soils, suggesting that naturally-occurring microbiota in these two soils played minimal roles in contributing to conducive conditions for disease development. Relative abundance of Ganoderma was higher in BSR-conducive Bernam and Bungor soils as well, compared to BSR-suppressive Blenheim. Results from this study provides the first insights into the soil microbiota in BSR suppressive soils and their role in BSR disease progression and growth of oil palms.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104787
Number of pages12
JournalBiological Control
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


  • Eukaryotic community
  • Ganoderma boninense
  • Plant growth
  • Prokaryotic community
  • Suppressive soil

Cite this