Project description:The active bacterial rhizobiomes and root exudate profiles of phytometers of six plant species growing in central European temperate grassland communities were investigated in three regions located up to 700?km apart, across diverse edaphic conditions and along a strong land use gradient. The recruitment process from bulk soil communities was identified as the major direct driver of the composition of active rhizosphere bacterial communities. Unexpectedly, the effect of soil properties, particularly soil texture, water content, and soil type, strongly dominated over plant properties and the composition of polar root exudates of the primary metabolism. While plant species-specific selection of bacteria was minor, the RNA-based composition of active rhizosphere bacteria substantially differed between rhizosphere and bulk soil. Although other variables could additionally be responsible for the consistent enrichment of particular bacteria in the rhizosphere, distinct bacterial OTUs were linked to the presence of specific polar root exudates independent of individual plant species. Our study also identified numerous previously unknown taxa that are correlated with rhizosphere dynamics and hence represent suitable targets for future manipulations of the plant rhizobiome.
Project description:The rhizosphere harbors one of the most complex, diverse, and active plant-associated microbial communities. This community can be recruited by the plant host to either supply it with nutrients or to help in the survival under stressful conditions. Although selection for the rhizosphere community is evident, the specific bacterial traits that make them able to colonize this environment are still poorly understood. Thus, here we used a combination of community level physiological profile (CLPP) analysis and 16S rRNA gene quantification and sequencing (coupled with in silico analysis and metagenome prediction), to get insights on bacterial features and processes involved in rhizosphere colonization of sugarcane. CLPP revealed a higher metabolic activity in the rhizosphere compared to bulk soil, and suggested that D-galacturonic acid plays a role in bacterial selection by the plant roots (supported by results of metagenome prediction). Quantification of the 16S rRNA gene confirmed the higher abundance of bacteria in the rhizosphere. Sequence analysis showed that of the 252 classified families sampled, 24 were significantly more abundant in the bulk soil and 29 were more abundant in the rhizosphere. Furthermore, metagenomes predicted from the 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed a significant higher abundance of predicted genes associated with biofilm formation and with horizontal gene transfer (HGT) processes. In sum, this study identified major bacterial groups and their potential abilities to occupy the sugarcane rhizosphere, and indicated that polygalacturonase activity and HGT events may be important features for rhizosphere colonization.
Project description:Background: The soil environment is responsible for sustaining most terrestrial plant life on earth, yet we know surprisingly little about the important functions carried out by diverse microbial communities in soil. Soil microbes that inhabit the channels of decaying root systems, the detritusphere, are likely to be essential for plant growth and health, as these channels are the preferred locations of new root growth. Understanding the microbial metagenome of the detritusphere and how it responds to agricultural management such as crop rotations and soil tillage will be vital for improving global food production. Methods: The rhizosphere soils of wheat and chickpea growing under + and - decaying root were collected for metagenomics sequencing. A gene catalogue was established by de novo assembling metagenomic sequencing. Genes abundance was compared between bulk soil and rhizosphere soils under different treatments. Conclusions: The study describes the diversity and functional capacity of a high-quality soil microbial metagenome. The results demonstrate the contribution of the microbiome from decaying root in determining the metagenome of developing root systems, which is fundamental to plant growth, since roots preferentially inhabit previous root channels. Modifications in root microbial function through soil management, can ultimately govern plant health, productivity and food security. Overall design: Totally 18 samples were analysed, including the rhizosphere soils of wheat and chickpea growing under + and - decaying root, soils attached on the decaying root, and bulk soil with three replicates.
Project description:The rhizosphere encompasses the soil surrounding the surface of plants' fine roots. Accordingly, the microbiome present is influenced by both soil type and plant species. Furthermore, soil microbial communities respond to land-use intensity due to the effects on soil conditions and plant performance. However, there is limited knowledge about the impact of grassland management practices under field conditions on the composition of both bacteria and fungi in the rhizosphere of different plant functional groups. In spring 2014 we planted four phytometer species, two forbs (Plantago lanceolata, Achillea millefolium) and two grasses (Dactylis glomerata, Arrhenatherum elatius) into 13 permanent experimental grassland plots, differing in management. After 6 months, rhizosphere and bulk soil associated with the phytometer plants were sampled, microbial genomic DNA was extracted and bacterial 16S and fungal ITS rDNA were sequenced using Illumina MiSeq. Our study revealed that the rhizosphere microbial community was more diverse than the bulk soil community. There were no differences in microbial community composition between the two plant functional groups, but a clear impact of root traits and edaphic conditions. Land-use intensity strongly affected plant productivity, neighboring plant richness and edaphic conditions, especially soil C/N ratio, which in turn had a strong influence on root traits and thereby explained to large extent microbial community composition. Rhizosphere microbes were mainly affected by abiotic factors, in particular by land-use intensity, while plant functional type had only subordinate effects. Our study provides novel insights into the assembly of rhizosphere bacterial and fungal communities in response to land-use intensity and plant functional groups in managed grassland ecosystems.
Project description:Carbonate caves represent subterranean ecosystems that are largely devoid of phototrophic primary production. In semiarid and arid regions, allochthonous organic carbon inputs entering caves with vadose-zone drip water are minimal, creating highly oligotrophic conditions; however, past research indicates that carbonate speleothem surfaces in these caves support diverse, predominantly heterotrophic prokaryotic communities. The current study applied a metagenomic approach to elucidate the community structure and potential energy dynamics of microbial communities, colonizing speleothem surfaces in Kartchner Caverns, a carbonate cave in semiarid, southeastern Arizona, USA. Manual inspection of a speleothem metagenome revealed a community genetically adapted to low-nutrient conditions with indications that a nitrogen-based primary production strategy is probable, including contributions from both Archaea and Bacteria. Genes for all six known CO2-fixation pathways were detected in the metagenome and RuBisCo genes representative of the Calvin-Benson-Bassham cycle were over-represented in Kartchner speleothem metagenomes relative to bulk soil, rhizosphere soil and deep-ocean communities. Intriguingly, quantitative PCR found Archaea to be significantly more abundant in the cave communities than in soils above the cave. MEtaGenome ANalyzer (MEGAN) analysis of speleothem metagenome sequence reads found Thaumarchaeota to be the third most abundant phylum in the community, and identified taxonomic associations to this phylum for indicator genes representative of multiple CO2-fixation pathways. The results revealed that this oligotrophic subterranean environment supports a unique chemoautotrophic microbial community with potentially novel nutrient cycling strategies. These strategies may provide key insights into other ecosystems dominated by oligotrophy, including aphotic subsurface soils or aquifers and photic systems such as arid deserts.
Project description:Although soil microbial communities are central in ecosystem functioning, we know little of their characterization for those associated with grazing-tolerant host plant species in grassland ecosystems in response to grazing. In this study, we used a high-throughput sequencing approach to characterize soil microbes from the rhizosphere and bulk soil of grazing-tolerant grass species, Stipa breviflora, in the Inner Mongolian desert steppe. We found that response mechanisms of soil bacteria distinct from fungal communities, and variance also occur between the rhizosphere and bulk soil communities under long-term grazing. Soil fungal communities and the co-occurrence networks in S. breviflora rhizosphere were more sensitive to long-term grazing than bacteria. We reveal that rhizosphere effects and soil water content were the main drivers of the changes in fungal communities and their co-occurrence networks. Moreover, the dominant bacterial phyla Bacteroidetes and Proteobacteria and fungal phyla Ascomycota and Glomeromycota might participate in regulating processes of S. breviflora's response to grazing. Overall, these findings give new snapshots of mechanisms of how grazing affects soil microbial communities, in an attempt to contribute to a clearer understanding of grazing-tolerant mechanism of S. breviflora.
Project description:How soil microbial communities contrast with respect to taxonomic and functional composition within and between ecosystems remains an unresolved question that is central to predicting how global anthropogenic change will affect soil functioning and services. In particular, it remains unclear how small-scale observations of soil communities based on the typical volume sampled (1-2 g) are generalizable to ecosystem-scale responses and processes. This is especially relevant for remote, northern latitude soils, which are challenging to sample and are also thought to be more vulnerable to climate change compared to temperate soils. Here, we employed well-replicated shotgun metagenome and 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing to characterize community composition and metabolic potential in Alaskan tundra soils, combining our own datasets with those publically available from distant tundra and temperate grassland and agriculture habitats. We found that the abundance of many taxa and metabolic functions differed substantially between tundra soil metagenomes relative to those from temperate soils, and that a high degree of OTU-sharing exists between tundra locations. Tundra soils were an order of magnitude less complex than their temperate counterparts, allowing for near-complete coverage of microbial community richness (~92% breadth) by sequencing, and the recovery of 27 high-quality, almost complete (>80% completeness) population bins. These population bins, collectively, made up to ~10% of the metagenomic datasets, and represented diverse taxonomic groups and metabolic lifestyles tuned toward sulfur cycling, hydrogen metabolism, methanotrophy, and organic matter oxidation. Several population bins, including members of Acidobacteria, Actinobacteria, and Proteobacteria, were also present in geographically distant (~100-530 km apart) tundra habitats (full genome representation and up to 99.6% genome-derived average nucleotide identity). Collectively, our results revealed that Alaska tundra microbial communities are less diverse and more homogenous across spatial scales than previously anticipated, and provided DNA sequences of abundant populations and genes that would be relevant for future studies of the effects of environmental change on tundra ecosystems.
Project description:In this study, we investigated the impact of different land use intensities (LUI) on the root-associated microbiome of Dactylis glomerata (orchardgrass). For this purpose, eight sampling sites with different land use intensity levels but comparable soil properties were selected in the southwest of Germany. Experimental plots covered land use levels from natural grassland up to intensively managed meadows. We used 16S rRNA gene based barcoding to assess the plant-associated community structure in the endosphere, rhizosphere and bulk soil of D. glomerata. Samples were taken at the reproductive stage of the plant in early summer. Our data indicated that roots harbor a distinct bacterial community, which clearly differed from the microbiome of the rhizosphere and bulk soil. Our results revealed Pseudomonadaceae, Enterobacteriaceae and Comamonadaceae as the most abundant endophytes independently of land use intensity. Rhizosphere and bulk soil were dominated also by Proteobacteria, but the most abundant families differed from those obtained from root samples. In the soil, the effect of land use intensity was more pronounced compared to root endophytes leading to a clearly distinct pattern of bacterial communities under different LUI from rhizosphere and bulk soil vs. endophytes. Overall, a change of community structure on the plant-soil interface was observed, as the number of shared OTUs between all three compartments investigated increased with decreasing land use intensity. Thus, our findings suggest a stronger interaction of the plant with its surrounding soil under low land use intensity. Furthermore, the amount and quality of available nitrogen was identified as a major driver for shifts in the microbiome structure in all compartments.
Project description:Microorganisms associated with roots are thought to be part of the so-called extended plant phenotypes with roles in the acquisition of nutrients, production of growth hormones, and defense against diseases. Since the crops selectively enrich most rhizosphere microbes out of the bulk soil, we hypothesized that changes in the composition of bulk soil communities caused by agricultural management affect the extended plant phenotype. In the current study, we performed shotgun metagenome sequencing of the rhizosphere microbiome of the peanut (Arachis hypogaea) and metatranscriptome analysis of the roots of peanut plants grown in the soil with different management histories, peanut monocropping and crop rotation. We found that the past planting record had a significant effect on the assembly of the microbial community in the peanut rhizosphere, indicating a soil memory effect. Monocropping resulted in a reduction of the rhizosphere microbial diversity, an enrichment of several rare species, and a reduced representation of traits related to plant performance, such as nutrients metabolism and phytohormone biosynthesis. Furthermore, peanut plants in monocropped soil exhibited a significant reduction in growth coinciding with a down-regulation of genes related to hormone production, mainly auxin and cytokinin, and up-regulation of genes related to the abscisic acid, salicylic acid, jasmonic acid, and ethylene pathways. These findings suggest that land use history affects crop rhizosphere microbiomes and plant physiology.
Project description:Serving as "natural laboratories", altitudinal gradients can be used to study changes in the distribution of microorganisms in response to changing environmental conditions that typically occur over short geographical distances. Besides, rhizosphere zones of plants are known to be hot-spots for microbial diversity and to contain different microbial communities when compared with surrounding bulk soil. To discriminate the effects of altitude and plants, we investigated the microbial communities in the rhizosphere of Ranunculus glacialis and bulk soil along a high-alpine altitudinal gradient (2,600-3,400 m a.s.l.). The research area of this study was Mount (Mt.) "Schrankogel" in the Central Alps of Tyrol (Austria). Our results point to significantly different microbial diversities and community compositions in the different altitudinal belts. In the case of prokaryotes, environmental parameters could explain 41% of the total variation of soil communities, with pH and temperature being the strongest influencing factors. Comparing the effects derived from fraction (bulk vs. rhizosphere soil) and environmental factors, the effects of the roots of R. glacialis accounted for about one third of the explained variation. Fungal communities on the other hand were nearly exclusively influenced by environmental parameters accounting for 37.4% of the total variation. Both, for altitudinal zones as well as for bulk and rhizosphere fractions a couple of very specific biomarker taxa could be identified. Generally, the patterns of abundance of several taxa did not follow a steady increased or decreased trend along the altitudinal gradient but in many cases a maximal or minimal occurrence was established at mid-altitudes (3,000-3,100 m). This mid-altitudinal zone is a transition zone (the so-called alpine-nival ecotone) between the (lower) alpine grassland/tundra zone and the (upper) sparsely vegetated nival zone and was shown to correspond with the summer snow line. Climate change and the associated increase in temperature will shift this transition zone and thus, might also shift the described microbial patterns and biomarkers.