The microflora of disease-suppressive soils is usually dominated by antagonistic microorganisms that produce copious amounts of antibiotics. These include fungi of the genera Penicillium, Tricho derma, and Aspergillus, and actinomycetes of the genus Streptomyces. The antibiotics they produce can have biostatic and biocidal effects on soil-borne plant pathogens, including Fusarium which would have an incidence in these soils of less than 5 percent. Crops planted in these soils are rarely affected by diseases or insect pests.
Even if fresh organic matter with a high nitrogen content is applied, the production of putrescent substances is very low and the soil has a pleasant earthy odor after the organic matter is decomposed. These soils generally have excellent physical properties; for example, they readily form water stable aggregates and they are well-aerated, and have a high permeability to both air and water. Crop yields in the disease suppressive soils are often slightly lower than those in synthetic soils. Highly acceptable crop yields are obtained when odors especially after tillage, b) favorable soil physical properties (e.g., increased aggregate stability, permeability, aeration and decreased resistance to tillage), c) large amounts of inorganic nutrients, amino acids, carbohydrates, vitamins and other bioactive substances which can directly or indirectly enhance the growth, yield and quality of crops, d) low occupancy of Fusarium fungi which is usu ally less than 5 percent, and e) low production of greenhouse gases (e.g., methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide) from croplands, even where flooded rice is grown.
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