Impact of a synthetic fungicide (fosetyl-Al and propamocarb-hydrochloride) and a biopesticide (*Clonostachys rosea*) on soil bacterial, fungal, and protist communities


The use of synthetic pesticides in agriculture is increasingly debated. However, few studies have compared the impact of synthetic pesticides and alternative biopesticides on non-target soil microorganisms playing a central role in soil functioning. We conducted a mesocosm experiment and used high-throughput amplicon sequencing to test the impact of a fungal biopesticide and a synthetic fungicide on the diversity, the taxonomic and functional compositions, and co-occurrence patterns of soil bacterial, fungal and protist communities. Neither the synthetic pesticide nor the biopesticide had a significant effect on microbial α-diversity. However, both types of pesticides decreased the complexity of the soil microbial network. The two pesticides had contrasting impacts on the composition of microbial communities and the identity of key taxa as revealed by microbial network analyses. The biopesticide impacted keystone taxa that structured the soil microbial network. The synthetic pesticide modified biotic interactions favouring taxa that are less efficient at degrading organic compounds. This suggests that the biopesticides and the synthetic pesticide have different impact on soil functioning. Altogether, our study shows that pest management products may have functionally significant impacts on the soil microbiome even if microbial α-diversity is unaffected. It also illustrates the potential of high-throughput sequencing analyses to improve the ecotoxicological risk assessment of pesticides on non-target soil microorganisms.

Science of The Total Environment. Volume 738,2020,139635.