Chitin is a promising soil amendment for improving soil quality, plant growth, and plant resilience.

Monday, January 30, 2017

In the current study, we demonstrated that the chitin soil amendment strategy which was previously known to be effective against plant pathogens (e.g., Dutta and Isaac, 1979; Hallmann et al., 1999; Cretoiu et al., 2013) also is able to control Salmonella on leafy greens. Chitin amendment in potting soil increased lettuce growth and had a decreasing effect on the survival of human pathogens on the leaves. These two effects were accompanied with changes in the rhizosphere microbiome. The observations that chitin soil amendment can increase plant yield, including lettuce, and can change soil and rhizosphere microbiology are not new, and our study confirms the results seen by other studies (e.g., Sarathchandra et al., 1996; Radwan et al., 2012; Cretoiu et al., 2013, 2014; Jacquiod et al., 2013;
Muymas et al., 2015). This is, however, the first study to show that chitin soil amendment can have an effect on the survival of human pathogens on leafy vegetables. This addresses some of the knowledge gaps between food safety and plant sciences and similar studies combining both research fields are expected (Markland and Kniel, 2015; Melotto et al., 2015).