SLU news

Mustard can clean soil from pea-root rot

Published: 07 November 2013

White mustard (Sinapis alba) can be used to decontaminate soil that is infested with the pea-root rot without affecting the nitrogen-fixing bacteria. This was shown by the SLU researcher Shakhawat Hossain in his doctoral thesis.

Cruciferous catch crops that are already used in some cropping systems to reduce nutrient runoff and prevent soil erosion, can also be used to suppress certain soil borne pathogens. Most brassicas contain glucosinolates which in various forms can be highly toxic to soil organism. Various vegetative parts of the plant and various brassica have different chemical profiles.

The researchers found that white mustard clearly inhibited the development of pea-root rot in an experiment where white mustard were grown for 11 weeks in a contaminated soil. The main limiting factor appeared to be hydrolysis products of glucosinolates produced by white mustard’s roots. Laboratory experiments showed that the for the peas so important nitrogen-fixing organisms where not inhibited by mustard.