Concluding Remarks

Plant disease researchers often focus on causal agents in relative isolation. Our research further demonstrates that other host-derived factors may also play an important role in the etiology and severity of plant diseases and replant syndromes. That is, allelopathy may contribute to plant diseases through the ability of certain microbes to grow and/ or survive preferentially in the phytochemical profile of the rhizosphere surrounding specific crop roots. Because pathogenicity is a common nutritional mode in microbes, it is not surprising that pathogens are adapted to the chemical environment of their host plants. Manipulation of rhizosphere chemistry, therefore, either through genetic modification of plants, identification and use of microbe-influencing genotypes or the planting of mixed crops, represents a potential, but as yet underdeveloped, opportunity to reduce disease levels in economically important plants.

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