Project description:A polyphasic approach has been developed to gain knowledge of suitable key indicators for the evaluation of environmental impact of genetically modified Bt 11 and Bt 176 corn lines on soil ecosystems. We assessed the effects of Bt corn (which constitutively expresses the insecticidal toxin from Bacillus thuringiensis, encoded by the truncated Cry1Ab gene) and non-Bt corn plants and their residues on rhizospheric and bulk soil eubacterial communities by means of denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analyses of 16S rRNA genes, on the nontarget mycorrhizal symbiont Glomus mosseae, and on soil respiration. Microcosm experiments showed differences in rhizospheric eubacterial communities associated with the three corn lines and a significantly lower level of mycorrhizal colonization in Bt 176 corn roots. In greenhouse experiments, differences between Bt and non-Bt corn plants were detected in rhizospheric eubacterial communities (both total and active), in culturable rhizospheric heterotrophic bacteria, and in mycorrhizal colonization. Plant residues of transgenic plants, plowed under at harvest and kept mixed with soil for up to 4 months, affected soil respiration, bacterial communities, and mycorrhizal establishment by indigenous endophytes. The multimodal approach utilized in our work may be applied in long-term field studies aimed at monitoring the real hazard of genetically modified crops and their residues on nontarget soil microbial communities.
Project description:UNLABELLED:We investigated communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in the roots and the rhizosphere soil of Brachypodium retusum in six different natural soils under field conditions. We explored phylogenetic patterns of AMF composition using indicator species analyses to find AMF associated with a given habitat (root versus rhizosphere) or soil type. We tested whether the AMF characteristics of different habitats or contrasting soils were more closely related than expected by chance. Then we used principal-component analysis and multivariate analysis of variance to test for the relative contribution of each factor in explaining the variation in fungal community composition. Finally, we used redundancy analysis to identify the soil properties that significantly explained the differences in AMF communities across soil types. The results pointed out a tendency of AMF communities in roots to be closely related and different from those in the rhizosphere soil. The indicator species analyses revealed AMF associated with rhizosphere soil and the root habitat. Soil type also determined the distribution of AMF communities in soils, and this effect could not be attributed to a single soil characteristic, as at least three soil properties related to microbial activity, i.e., pH and levels of two micronutrients (Mn and Zn), played significant roles in triggering AMF populations. IMPORTANCE:Communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) are main components of soil biota that can determine the productivity of ecosystems. These fungal assemblages vary across host plants and ecosystems, but the main ecological processes that shape the structures of these communities are still largely unknown. A field study in six different soil types from semiarid areas revealed that AMF communities are significantly influenced by habitat (soil versus roots) and soil type. In addition, three soil properties related to microbiological activity (i.e., pH and manganese and zinc levels) were the main factors triggering the distribution of AMF. These results contribute to a better understanding of the ecological factors that can shape AMF communities, an important soil microbial group that affects multiple ecosystem functions.
Project description:Cephalanthera rubra (L.) Rich., Red Helleborine, is a widespread orchid in Europe but known only from three very small populations in England. These populations are in decline with no natural seed setting for more than a decade. The species may become extinct in the UK soon unless viable strategies are in place for ex situ conservation, especially the use of symbiotic propagation. Because of the fragile nature of the populations in England mycorrhizal fungal diversity study is not feasible. Therefore, to understand the factors needed for healthy Red Helleborine populations, soil characteristics and diversity of culturable root-derived fungi of the populations from a small area in the Loire Valley in France were studied. The main objectives of the study were: (1) Which culturable mycorrhizal fungi associated with C. rubra roots and (2) To what extent is variation in fungal communities related to variation in soil characteristics? Here, we report a significant difference in diversity of culturable mycorrhizal and non-mycorrhizal fungi depending on soil pH and phosphorus content. Mycorrhizal associations were favoured by plants in locations with low soil nutrient availability and comparatively higher pH. Our study shows that mycorrhizal fungi, both ecto and endo, can be cultured from roots of plants at different maturity stages.
Project description:Feedbacks between plants and soil microbial communities play an important role in vegetation dynamics, but the underlying mechanisms remain unresolved. Here, we show that the diversity of putative pathogenic, mycorrhizal, and saprotrophic fungi is a primary regulator of plant-soil feedbacks across a broad range of temperate grassland plant species. We show that plant species with resource-acquisitive traits, such as high shoot nitrogen concentrations and thin roots, attract diverse communities of putative fungal pathogens and specialist saprotrophs, and a lower diversity of mycorrhizal fungi, resulting in strong plant growth suppression on soil occupied by the same species. Moreover, soil properties modulate feedbacks with fertile soils, promoting antagonistic relationships between soil fungi and plants. This study advances our capacity to predict plant-soil feedbacks and vegetation dynamics by revealing fundamental links between soil properties, plant resource acquisition strategies, and the diversity of fungal guilds in soil.
Project description:In general, plants and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi exchange photosynthetically fixed carbon for soil nutrients, but occasionally nonphotosynthetic plants obtain carbon from AM fungi. The interactions of these mycoheterotrophic plants with AM fungi are suggested to be more specialized than those of green plants, although direct comparisons are lacking. We investigated the mycorrhizal interactions of both green and mycoheterotrophic plants. We used next-generation DNA sequencing to compare the AM communities from roots of five closely related mycoheterotrophic species of Thismia (Thismiaceae), roots of surrounding green plants, and soil, sampled over the entire temperate distribution of Thismia in Australia and New Zealand. We observed that the fungal communities of mycoheterotrophic and green plants are phylogenetically more similar within than between these groups of plants, suggesting a specific association pattern according to plant trophic mode. Moreover, mycoheterotrophic plants follow a more restricted association with their fungal partners in terms of phylogenetic diversity when compared with green plants, targeting more clustered lineages of fungi, independent of geographic origin. Our findings demonstrate that these mycoheterotrophic plants target more narrow lineages of fungi than green plants, despite the larger fungal pool available in the soil, and thus they are more specialized towards mycorrhizal fungi than autotrophic plants.
Project description:Plant-soil feedback (PSF) effects are studied as plant growth responses to soil previously conditioned by another plant. These studies usually exclude effects of soil fauna, such as nematodes, soil arthropods, and earthworms, although these organisms are known to influence plant performance. Here, we aimed to explore effects of a model microarthropod community on PSFs. We performed a PSF experiment in microcosms with two plant species, Phleum pratense and Poa pratensis. We added a model microarthropod community consisting of three fungivorous springtail species (Proisotoma minuta, Folsomia candida, and Sinella curviseta) and a predatory mite (Hypoaspis aculeifer) to half of the microcosms. We measured seedling establishment and plant biomass, nematode and microbial community composition, microbial biomass, and mycorrhizal colonization of roots. Microarthropods caused changes in the composition of nematode and microbial communities. Their effect was particularly strong in Phleum plants where they altered the composition of bacterial communities. Microarthropods also generally influenced plant performance, and their effects depended on previous soil conditioning and the identity of plant species. Microarthropods did not affect soil microbial biomass and mycorrhizal colonization of roots. We conclude that the role of soil microarthropods should be considered in future PSF experiments, especially as their effects are plant species-specific.
Project description:Abstract Plant root symbionts, namely mycorrhizal fungi, can be characterized using a variety of methods, but most of these rely on DNA. While Sanger sequencing still fulfills particular research objectives, next‐generation sequencing currently dominates the field, thus understanding how the two methods differ is important for identifying both opportunities and limitations to characterizing fungal communities. In addition to testing sequencing methods, we also examined how roots and soils may yield different fungal communities and how disturbance may affect those differences. We sequenced DNA from ectomycorrhizal fungi colonizing roots of Pinus banksiana and found that operational taxonomic unit richness was higher, and compositional variance lower, for Illumina MiSeq–sequenced communities compared to Sanger‐sequenced communities. We also found that fungal communities associated with roots were distinct in composition compared to those associated with soils and, moreover, that soil‐associated fungi were more clustered in composition than those of roots. Finally, we found community dissimilarity between roots and soils was insensitive to disturbance; however, rarefying read counts had a sizeable influence on trends in fungal richness. Although interest in mycorrhizal communities is typically focused on the abiotic and biotic filters sorting fungal species, our study shows that the choice of methods to sample, sequence, and analyze DNA can also influence the estimation of community composition.
Project description:The symbiosis between plant roots and arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi has been shown to affect both the diversity and productivity of agricultural communities. In this study, we characterized the AM fungal communities of Solanum tuberosum L. (potato) roots and of the bulk soil in two nearby areas of northern Italy, in order to verify if land use practices had selected any particular AM fungus with specificity to potato plants. The AM fungal large-subunit (LSU) rRNA genes were subjected to nested PCR, cloning, sequencing, and phylogenetic analyses. One hundred eighty-three LSU rRNA sequences were analyzed, and eight monophyletic ribotypes, belonging to Glomus groups A and B, were identified. AM fungal communities differed between bulk soil and potato roots, as one AM fungal ribotype, corresponding to Glomus intraradices, was much more frequent in potato roots than in soils (accounting for more than 90% of sequences from potato samples and less than 10% of sequences from soil samples). A semiquantitative heminested PCR with specific primers was used to confirm and quantify the AM fungal abundance observed by cloning. Overall results concerning the biodiversity of AM fungal communities in roots and in bulk soils from the two studied areas suggested that potato roots were preferentially colonized by one AM fungal species, G. intraradices.
Project description:BACKGROUND AND AIMS:Picea abies, Pinus mugo and Rhododendron ferrugineum co-exist at the alpine tree line, and can have different mycorrhizal communities. The activity and diversity of mycorrhizal fungi are considered to be important factors in regulation of soil function. METHODS:At a tree line site and a lower elevation site in the Austrian Alps, the community structure of ectomycorrhiza on Picea abies and Pinus mugo was determined. The activity of surface enzymes was determined on ectomycorrhizal and ericoid mycorrhizal roots. In soils, the activity of a range of enzymes, nitrogen (N) mineralization and biomass decomposition were determined. RESULTS:The community structure of the ectomycorrhizal community of Picea abies and Pinus mugo differed strongly, but the average activity of surface enzymes of the ectomycorrhizal communities was similar. A lower root surface enzyme activity was determined on Rhododendron ferrugineum. Soil N-mineralization under Rhododendron ferrugineum was significantly lower than under Picea abies and Pinus mugo. In soil, the activity of a range of enzymes did not differ at the tree line but differed between the tree line and the lower elevation sites. CONCLUSION:The different ectomycorrhizal communities on Picea abies and Pinus mugo and ericoid mycorrhizas on Rhododendron ferrugineum support similar ecosystem functions in soil.
Project description:We examined the colonization rate and communities of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) in the roots of Pyrus pyrifolia var. culta (Japanese pear) in orchards to investigate the effect of phosphorus (P) fertilization on AMF. Soil cores containing the roots of Japanese pear were collected from 13 orchards in Tottori Prefecture, Japan. Soil-available P in the examined orchards was 75.7 to 1,200 mg kg(-1), showing the extreme accumulation of soil P in many orchards. The AMF colonization rate was negatively correlated with soil-available P (P <0.01). AMF communities were examined on the basis of the partial fungal DNA sequences of the nuclear small-subunit ribosomal RNA gene (SSU rDNA) amplified by AMF-specific primers AML1 and AML2. The obtained AMF sequences were divided into 14 phylotypes, and the number of phylotypes (species richness) was also negatively correlated with soil-available P (P <0.05). It was also suggested that some AM fungi may be adapted to high soil-available P conditions. Redundancy analysis showed the significant effects of soil pH, available P in soil, and P content in leaves of P. pyrifolia var. culta trees on AMF distribution. These results suggested that the accumulation of soil-available P affected AMF communities in the roots of Japanese pear in the orchard environment.