Arable fields of 10 organic farms from different locations within the Netherlands were sampled in four subsequent years. The soil samples were analysed for disease suppressiveness against Rhizoctonia solani, Streptomyces scabies and Verticillium dahliae. Furthermore, a variety of microbial characteristics and chemical and physical soil properties were assessed. All these characteristics and different environmental factors were correlated by multivariate analyses. Significant differences in soil suppressiveness were found for all three diseases. Suppressiveness against Rhizoctonia was more or less consistent between the sampled fields in 2004 and 2005. This suppressiveness correlated with higher numbers of Lysobacter and Pseudomonas antagonists, as well as fungal diversity in DGGE patterns. Furthermore, results of 2006 showed that one year of grass-clover clearly stimulated Rhizoctonia suppression. Also Streptomyces soil suppressiveness was consistent between 2004 and 2005, but it concerned other soils than the ones which were suppressive against Rhizoctonia. Streptomyces suppression correlated with higher numbers of antagonists in general, Streptomyces and the fungal/bacterial biomass ratio, but with a lower organic matter content and respiration. Soil suppressiveness against Verticillium was not consistent between the years and therefore probably not related to soil factors.
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