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Biological activity of soils under rubber trees (Hevea brasiliensis) affected by trunk phloem necrosis

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Trunk phloem necrosis (TPN) is currently one of the most economically important diseases of the rubber tree (Hevea brasiliensis). Investigations of the aetiology of the disorder have failed to identify any biotic causal agents but a multidisciplinary study has recently suggested that the disease may be caused by a combination of exogenous and endogenous stresses. These stresses can affect plant physiology and may also have an impact on soil biology and soil biochemistry. In this study, macrofauna diversity and soil enzyme activities were compared for the soils under trees affected by TPN and under healthy trees. Principal component analysis revealed associations between TPN and macrofauna diversity and soil enzyme activities. Groups of ants and termites were associated with the soil under healthy and trees affected by TPN respectively. Polysaccharidase (cellulase, xylanase and, particularly, amylase) activities were lower in the soil under trees affected by TPN whereas N-acetylglucosaminidase activity was higher. These findings suggested that termite density and N-acetylglucosaminidase activity are useful indicators of TPN, while lower values of polysaccharidases activities are the consequence of this disease. The impact of TPN on soil ecosystem was discussed.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1: Department of Plant Science and Agricultural Resources, Faculty of Agriculture, Khon Kaen University, Thailand 2: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Laboratoire d’écologie des sols tropicaux, Bondy Cedex, France 3: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement Centre d’Ecologie Fonctionelle et Evolutive, CNRS, Montpellier, France 4: Institut de Recherche pour le Développement, Biogéochimie et écologie des milieux continentaux, Paris, France

Publication date: 2011-02-01

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