Project description:Microbiomes of soils and plants are linked, but how this affects microbiomes of aboveground herbivorous insects is unknown. We first generated plant-conditioned soils in field plots, then reared leaf-feeding caterpillars on dandelion grown in these soils, and then assessed whether the microbiomes of the caterpillars were attributed to the conditioned soil microbiomes or the dandelion microbiome. Microbiomes of caterpillars kept on intact plants differed from those of caterpillars fed detached leaves collected from plants growing in the same soil. Microbiomes of caterpillars reared on detached leaves were relatively simple and resembled leaf microbiomes, while those of caterpillars from intact plants were more diverse and resembled soil microbiomes. Plant-mediated changes in soil microbiomes were not reflected in the phytobiome but were detected in caterpillar microbiomes, however, only when kept on intact plants. Our results imply that insect microbiomes depend on soil microbiomes, and that effects of plants on soil microbiomes can be transmitted to aboveground insects feeding later on other plants.
Project description:Soil microorganisms found in the root zone impact plant growth and development, but the potential to harness these benefits is hampered by the sheer abundance and diversity of the players influencing desirable plant traits. Here, we report a high level of reproducibility of soil microbiomes in altering plant flowering time and soil functions when partnered within and between plant hosts. We used a multi-generation experimental system using Arabidopsis thaliana Col to select for soil microbiomes inducing earlier or later flowering times of their hosts. We then inoculated the selected microbiomes from the tenth generation of plantings into the soils of three additional A. thaliana genotypes (Ler, Be, RLD) and a related crucifer (Brassica rapa). With the exception of Ler, all other plant hosts showed a shift in flowering time corresponding with the inoculation of early- or late-flowering microbiomes. Analysis of the soil microbial community using 16 S rRNA gene sequencing showed distinct microbiota profiles assembling by flowering time treatment. Plant hosts grown with the late-flowering-associated microbiomes showed consequent increases in inflorescence biomass for three A. thaliana genotypes and an increase in total biomass for B. rapa. The increase in biomass was correlated with two- to five-fold enhancement of microbial extracellular enzyme activities associated with nitrogen mineralization in soils. The reproducibility of the flowering phenotype across plant hosts suggests that microbiomes can be selected to modify plant traits and coordinate changes in soil resource pools.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Soil microbiomes play an important role in the services and functioning of terrestrial ecosystems. However, little is known of their vertical responses to restoration process and their contributions to soil nutrient cycling in the subsurface profiles. Here, we investigated the community assembly of soil bacteria, archaea, and fungi along vertical (i.e., soil depths of 0-300 cm) and horizontal (i.e., distance from trees of 30-90 cm) profiles in a chronosequence of reforestation sites that represent over 30 years of restoration. RESULTS:In the superficial layers (0-80 cm), bacterial and fungal diversity decreased, whereas archaeal diversity increased with increasing soil depth. As reforestation proceeded over time, the vertical spatial variation in bacterial communities decreased, while that in archaeal and fungal communities increased. Vertical distributions of the soil microbiomes were more related to the variation in soil properties, while their horizontal distributions may be driven by a gradient effect of roots extending from the tree. Bacterial and archaeal beta-diversity were strongly related to multi-nutrient cycling in the soil, respectively, playing major roles in deep and superficial layers. CONCLUSIONS:Taken together, these results reveal a new perspective on the vertical and horizontal spatial variation in soil microbiomes at the fine scale of single trees. Distinct response patterns underpinned the contributions of soil bacteria, archaea, and fungi as a function of subsurface nutrient cycling during the reforestation of ex-arable land.
Project description:Communities of microorganisms in the soil can affect plants' growth and interactions with aboveground herbivores. Thus, there is growing interest in utilizing soil microbiomes to improve plant performance in agriculture (e.g., for pest control), but little is known about the phenotypic responses of various crop species to different microbiomes. In this study, we inoculated four crop species from different botanical families, maize (Zea mays, Poaceae), cucumber (Cucumis sativus, Cucurbitaceae), tomato (Solanum lycopersicum, Solanaceae), and lettuce (Lactuca sativa, Asteraceae), with diverse soil microbiomes originating from actively-managed agricultural fields or fallow fields under varying stages of succession (1, 3, and 16-years post-agriculture) sourced from a large-scale field experiment. We compared the crops' responses to these different microbiomes by assessing their growth and resistance to two generalist insect pests, cabbage looper (Trichoplusia ni) and fall armyworm (Spodoptera frugiperda). These different microbiomes affected both plant growth and resistance, but the effects were species-specific. For instance, lettuce produced the largest leaves when inoculated with a 3-year fallow microbiome, the microbiome in which cucumber performed worst. Plants were generally more resistant to T. ni when inoculated with the later succession microbiomes, particularly in contrast to those treated with agricultural microbiomes. However, for tomato plants, the opposite pattern was observed with regard to S. frugiperda resistance. Collectively, these results indicate that plant responses to microbiomes are species-specific and emphasize the need to characterize the responses of taxonomically diverse plant species to different microbiomes.
Project description:Flooded rice fields are not only a global food source but also a major biogenic source of atmospheric methane. Using metatranscriptomics, we comparatively explored structural and functional succession of paddy soil microbiomes in the oxic surface layer and anoxic bulk soil. Cyanobacteria, Fungi, Xanthomonadales, Myxococcales, and Methylococcales were the most abundant and metabolically active groups in the oxic zone, while Clostridia, Actinobacteria, Geobacter, Anaeromyxobacter, Anaerolineae, and methanogenic archaea dominated the anoxic zone. The protein synthesis potential of these groups was about 75% and 50% of the entire community capacity, respectively. Their structure-function relationships in microbiome succession were revealed by classifying the protein-coding transcripts into core, non-core, and taxon-specific transcripts based on homologous gene distribution. The differential expression of core transcripts between the two microbiomes indicated that structural succession is primarily governed by the cellular ability to adapt to the given oxygen condition, involving oxidative stress, nitrogen/phosphorus metabolism, and fermentation. By contrast, the non-core transcripts were expressed from genes involved in the metabolism of various carbon sources. Among those, taxon-specific transcripts revealed highly specialized roles of the dominant groups in community-wide functioning. For instance, taxon-specific transcripts involved in photosynthesis and methane oxidation were a characteristic of the oxic zone, while those related to methane production and aromatic compound degradation were specific to the anoxic zone. Degradation of organic matters, antibiotics resistance, and secondary metabolite production were detected to be expressed in both the oxic and anoxic zones, but by different taxonomic groups. Cross-feeding of methanol between members of the Methylococcales and Xanthomonadales was suggested by the observation that in the oxic zone, they both exclusively expressed homologous genes encoding methanol dehydrogenase. Our metatranscriptomic analysis suggests that paddy soil microbiomes act as complex, functionally coordinated assemblages whose taxonomic composition is governed by the prevailing habitat factors and their hierarchical importance for community succession.
Project description:Soil nutrient amendments are recognized for their potential to improve microbial activity and biomass in the soil. However, the specific selective impacts of carbon amendments on indigenous microbiomes and their metabolic functions in agricultural soils remain poorly understood. We investigated the changes in soil chemical characteristics and phenotypes of Streptomyces communities following carbon amendments to soil. Mesocosms were established with soil from two field sites varying in soil organic matter content (low organic matter, LOM; high organic matter, HOM), that were amended at intervals over nine months with low or high dose solutions of glucose, fructose, malic acid, a mixture of these compounds, or water only (non-amended control). Significant shifts in soil chemical characteristics and antibiotic inhibitory capacities of indigenous Streptomyces were observed in response to carbon additions. All high dose carbon amendments consistently increased soil total carbon, while amendments with malic acid decreased soil pH. In LOM soils, higher frequencies of Streptomyces inhibitory phenotypes of the two plant pathogens, Streptomyces scabies and Fusarium oxysporum, were observed in response to soil carbon additions. Additionally, to determine if shifts in Streptomyces functional characteristics correlated with microbiome composition, we investigated whether shifts in functional characteristics of soil Streptomyces correlated with composition of soil bacterial communities, analyzed using 16S rRNA gene sequencing. Regardless of dose, community composition differed significantly among carbon-amended and non-amended soils from both sites. Carbon type and dose had significant effects on bacterial community composition in both LOM and HOM soils. Relationships among microbial community richness (observed species number), diversity, and soil characteristics varied among soils from different sites. These results suggest that manipulation of soil resource availability has the potential to selectively modify the functional capacities of soil microbiomes, and specifically to enhance pathogen inhibitory populations of high value to agricultural systems.
Project description:Emergence and spread of antibiotic resistance, and specifically resistance to third generation cephalosporins associated with extended spectrum ?-lactamase (ESBL) activity, is one of the greatest epidemiological challenges of our time. In this study we addressed the impact of the third generation cephalosporin ceftriaxone on microbial activity and bacterial community composition of two physically and chemically distinct undisturbed soils in highly regulated microcosm experiments. Surprisingly, periodical irrigation of the soils with clinical doses of ceftriaxone did not affect their microbial activity; and only moderately impacted the microbial diversity (? and ?) of the two soils. Corresponding slurry experiments demonstrated that the antibiotic capacity of ceftriaxone rapidly diminished in the presence of soil, and ?70% of this inactivation could be explained by biological activity. The biological nature of ceftriaxone degradation in soil was supported by microcosm experiments that amended model Escherichia coli strains to sterile and non-sterile soils in the presence and absence of ceftriaxone and by the ubiquitous presence of ESBL genes (blaTEM, blaCTX-M, and blaOXA) in soil DNA extracts. Collectively, these results suggest that the resistance of soil microbiomes to ceftriaxone stems from biological activity and even more, from broad-spectrum ?-lactamase activity; raising questions regarding the scope and clinical implications of ESBLs in soil microbiomes.
Project description:The soil environment is constantly changing due to shifts in soil moisture, nutrient availability and other conditions. To contend with these changes, soil microorganisms have evolved a variety of ways to adapt to environmental perturbations, including regulation of gene expression. However, it is challenging to untangle the complex phenotypic response of the soil to environmental change, partly due to the absence of predictive modeling frameworks that can mechanistically link molecular-level changes in soil microorganisms to a community's functional phenotypes (or metaphenome). Towards filling this gap, we performed a combined analysis of metabolic and gene co-expression networks to explore how the soil microbiome responded to changes in soil moisture and nutrient conditions and to determine which genes were expressed under a given condition. Our integrated modeling approach revealed previously unknown, but critically important aspects of the soil microbiomes' response to environmental perturbations. Incorporation of metabolomic and transcriptomic data into metabolic reaction networks identified condition-specific signature genes that are uniquely associated with dry, wet, and glycine-amended conditions. A subsequent gene co-expression network analysis revealed that drought-associated genes occupied more central positions in a network model of the soil community, compared to the genes associated with wet, and glycine-amended conditions. These results indicate the occurrence of system-wide metabolic coordination when soil microbiomes cope with moisture or nutrient perturbations. Importantly, the approach that we demonstrate here to analyze large-scale multi-omics data from a natural soil environment is applicable to other microbiome systems for which multi-omics data are available.
Project description:The ability to link soil microbial diversity to soil processes requires technologies that differentiate active microbes from extracellular DNA and dormant cells. Here, we use BONCAT (bioorthogonal non-canonical amino acid tagging) to measure translationally active cells in soils. We compare the active population of two soil depths from Oak Ridge (Tennessee, USA) and find that a maximum of 25-70% of the extractable cells are active. Analysis of 16S rRNA sequences from BONCAT-positive cells recovered by fluorescence-activated cell sorting (FACS) reveals that the phylogenetic composition of the active fraction is distinct from the total population of extractable cells. Some members of the community are found to be active at both depths independently of their abundance rank, suggesting that the incubation conditions favor the activity of similar organisms. We conclude that BONCAT-FACS is effective for interrogating the active fraction of soil microbiomes in situ and provides a new approach for uncovering the links between soil processes and specific microbial groups.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Salt pond restoration aims to recover the environmental damages that accumulated over the long history of salt production. Of the restoration strategies, phytoremediation that utilizes salt-tolerant plants and soil microorganisms to reduce the salt concentrations is believed to be environmentally-friendly. However, little is known about the change of bacterial community during salt pond restoration in the context of phytoremediation. In the present study, we used 16S metagenomics to compare seasonal changes of bacterial communities between the revegetated and barren salterns at Sicao, Taiwan. RESULTS:In both saltern types, Proteobacteria, Planctomycetes, Chloroflexi, and Bacteroidetes were predominant at the phylum level. In the revegetated salterns, the soil microbiomes displayed high species diversities and underwent a stepwise transition across seasons. In the barren salterns, the soil microbiomes fluctuated greatly, indicating that mangroves tended to stabilize the soil microorganism communities over the succession. Bacteria in the order Halanaerobiaceae and archaea in the family Halobacteriaceae that were adapted to high salinity exclusively occurred in the barren salterns. Among the 441 persistent operational taxonomic units detected in the revegetated salterns, 387 (87.5%) were present as transient species in the barren salterns. Only 32 persistent bacteria were exclusively detected in the revegetated salterns. Possibly, salt-tolerant plants provided shelters for those new colonizers. CONCLUSIONS:The collective data indicate that revegetation tended to stabilize the microbiome across seasons and enriched the microbial diversity in the salterns, especially species of Planctomycetes and Acidobacteria.