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Journal Article

Plant Phylogeny and Life History Shape Rhizosphere Bacterial Microbiome of Summer Annuals in an Agricultural Field


Youngblut,  ND
Department Microbiome Science, Max Planck Institute for Developmental Biology, Max Planck Society;

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Emmett, B., Youngblut, N., Buckley, D., & Drinkwater, L. (2017). Plant Phylogeny and Life History Shape Rhizosphere Bacterial Microbiome of Summer Annuals in an Agricultural Field. Frontiers in Microbiology, 8: 2414. doi:10.3389/fmicb.2017.02414.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0002-1A3A-1
Rhizosphere microbial communities are critically important for soil nitrogen cycling and plant productivity. There is evidence that plant species and genotypes select distinct rhizosphere communities, however, knowledge of the drivers and extent of this variation remains limited. We grew 11 annual species and 11 maize (Zea mays subsp. mays) inbred lines in a common garden experiment to assess the influence of host phylogeny, growth, and nitrogen metabolism on rhizosphere communities. Growth characteristics, bacterial community composition and potential activity of extracellular enzymes were assayed at time of flowering, when plant nitrogen demand is maximal. Bacterial community composition varied significantly between different plant species and genotypes. Rhizosphere beta-diversity was positively correlated with phylogenetic distance between plant species, but not genetic distance within a plant species. In particular, life history traits associated with plant resource acquisition (e.g., longer lifespan, high nitrogen use efficiency, and larger seed size) were correlated with variation in bacterial community composition and enzyme activity. These results indicate that plant evolutionary history and life history strategy influence rhizosphere bacterial community composition and activity. Thus, incorporating phylogenetic or functional diversity into crop rotations may be a tool to manipulate plant-microbe interactions in agricultural systems.