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Letter to the Editor|29 Dec 2022|OPEN
Soil and fine root-associated microbial communities are niche dependent and influenced by copper fungicide treatment during tea plant cultivation 
Ali Inayat Mallano1 ,† , Jie Yu2 ,† , Tabys Dina3 , Fangdong Li1,4 , Tiejun Ling1 , Naveed Ahmad5 and Jeffrey Bennetzen1,6 , , Wei Tong,1 ,
1State Key Laboratory of Tea Plant Biology and Utilization, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
2Sericultural Research Institute, Anhui Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Hefei 230061, China
3School of Medicine, Nazarbayev University, Nur-Sultan 020000, Kazakhstan
4School of Science, Anhui Agricultural University, Hefei 230036, China
5Institute of Crop Germplasm Resources, Shandong Academy of Agricultural Sciences, Jinan 250100, China
6Department of Genetics, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602, USA
*Corresponding author. E-mail: ,
Both authors contributed equally to the study.

Horticulture Research 10,
Article number: uhac285 (2023)
Views: 290

Received: 27 Jun 2022
Accepted: 08 Dec 2022
Published online: 29 Dec 2022


Dear Editor,

Fungicide treatment has a profound effect on controlling plant pathogens in modern agriculture, however, it also carries the risk of undesirable outcomes. For decades, scientists have been concerned about the harmful impacts of heavy metals like copper (Cu) on crop performance and soil microorganisms. Use of various copper fungicides, like Bordeaux mixture, have been a component of conventional agricultural practices to control fungal and bacterial pathogens, especially in vineyards, tea gardens, or fruit tree orchards [910]. This treatment increases the accumulation of high levels of Cu in surface soils, and despite the critical role of Cu as an essential trace element in wide biological and metabolic processes, it becomes toxic to plants when applied at high levels [4]. The regular application of copper fungicides has also been linked to affecting microbial communities at the levels of diversity [8], population structure [2], abundance, and growth [13]. Understanding the undesired effects of fungicides on microorganisms’ beneficial activities is therefore important for evaluating the hazards associated with the fungicide used in agriculture. Yet, the effects of copper fungicide on full microbial communities remains relatively understudied, especially in tea plants. Thus, we herein explored the influence of Bordeaux mixture under different management regimes (raking or without raking leaf litter) on microbial communities of root, bulk soil, and rhizosphere compartments of tea plants planted in a ten-year-old tea garden. We provided insights into the ecological consequences of tea management practices that might help to identify specific fungicide treatment regimens, environmental characteristics, and microbial community members to minimize the negative environmental outcomes and optimize the positive anti-pathogen aspects of fungicide treatment.