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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Agricultural intensification reduces microbial network complexity and the abundance of keystone taxa in roots.

Root-associated microbes play a key role in plant performance and productivity, making them important players in agroecosystems. So far, very few studies have assessed the impact of different farming systems on the root microbiota and it is still unclear whether agricultural intensification influences the structure and complexity of microbial communities. We investigated the impact of conventional, no-till, and organic farming on wheat root fungal communities using PacBio SMRT sequencing on samples collected from 60 farmlands in Switzerland. Organic farming harbored a much more complex fungal network with significantly higher connectivity than conventional and no-till farming systems. The abundance of keystone…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Global-level population genomics reveals differential effects of geography and phylogeny on horizontal gene transfer in soil bacteria.

Although microorganisms are known to dominate Earth’s biospheres and drive biogeochemical cycling, little is known about the geographic distributions of microbial populations or the environmental factors that pattern those distributions. We used a global-level hierarchical sampling scheme to comprehensively characterize the evolutionary relationships and distributional limitations of the nitrogen-fixing bacterial symbionts of the crop chickpea, generating 1,027 draft whole-genome sequences at the level of bacterial populations, including 14 high-quality PacBio genomes from a phylogenetically representative subset. We find that diverse Mesorhizobium taxa perform symbiosis with chickpea and have largely overlapping global distributions. However, sampled locations cluster based on the phylogenetic…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Petunia-and Arabidopsis-Specific Root Microbiota Responses to Phosphate Supplementation

Phosphorus (P) is a limiting element for plant growth. Several root microbes, including arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF), have the capacity to improve plant nutrition and their abundance is known to depend on P fertility. However, how complex root-associated bacterial and fungal communities respond to various levels of P supplementation remains ill-defined. Here we investigated the responses of the root-associated bacteria and fungi to varying levels of P supply using 16S rRNA gene and internal transcribed spacer amplicon sequencing. We grew Petunia, which forms symbiosis with AMF, and the nonmycorrhizal model species Arabidopsis as a control in a soil that is…

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Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Uncovering the biosynthetic potential of rare metagenomic DNA using co-occurrence network analysis of targeted sequences.

Sequencing of DNA extracted from environmental samples can provide key insights into the biosynthetic potential of uncultured bacteria. However, the high complexity of soil metagenomes, which can contain thousands of bacterial species per gram of soil, imposes significant challenges to explore secondary metabolites potentially produced by rare members of the soil microbiome. Here, we develop a targeted sequencing workflow termed CONKAT-seq (co-occurrence network analysis of targeted sequences) that detects physically clustered biosynthetic domains, a hallmark of bacterial secondary metabolism. Following targeted amplification of conserved biosynthetic domains in a highly partitioned metagenomic library, CONKAT-seq evaluates amplicon co-occurrence patterns across library subpools…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Lack of thinning effects over inter-annual changes in soil fungal community and diversity in a Mediterranean pine forest

Predicted changes in global climate might negatively affect the soil microbiome and associated ecosystem processes in Mediterranean forests. Forest treatments, such as forest thinning, have been suggested to mitigate climate change impacts on vegetation by reducing competition between trees, thus increasing water availability. Studies addressing the combined effects of climate and forest thinning on belowground fungal communities are still scarce, being fundamental to elaborate adaptive strategies to global warming. The aim of this study was to evaluate the tree density reduction effects on soil fungal communities and their response to inter-annual changes in weather conditions. The temporal dynamics of soil…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

A community-based culture collection for targeting novel plant growth-promoting bacteria from the sugarcane microbiome.

The soil-plant ecosystem harbors an immense microbial diversity that challenges investigative approaches to study traits underlying plant-microbe association. Studies solely based on culture-dependent techniques have overlooked most microbial diversity. Here we describe the concomitant use of culture-dependent and -independent techniques to target plant-beneficial microbial groups from the sugarcane microbiome. The community-based culture collection (CBC) approach was used to access microbes from roots and stalks. The CBC recovered 399 unique bacteria representing 15.9% of the rhizosphere core microbiome and 61.6-65.3% of the endophytic core microbiomes of stalks. By cross-referencing the CBC (culture-dependent) with the sugarcane microbiome profile (culture-independent), we designed a…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Soil microclimate changes affect soil fungal communities in a Mediterranean pine forest.

Soil microclimate is a potentially important regulator of the composition of plant-associated fungal communities in climates with significant drought periods. Here, we investigated the spatio-temporal dynamics of soil fungal communities in a Mediterranean Pinus pinaster forest in relation to soil moisture and temperature. Fungal communities in 336 soil samples collected monthly over 1 year from 28 long-term experimental plots were assessed by PacBio sequencing of ITS2 amplicons. Total fungal biomass was estimated by analysing ergosterol. Community changes were analysed in the context of functional traits. Soil fungal biomass was lowest during summer and late winter and highest during autumn, concurrent with…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Comparative genomic analyses reveal the features for adaptation to nematodes in fungi.

Nematophagous (NP) fungi are ecologically important components of the soil microbiome in natural ecosystems. Esteya vermicola (Ev) has been reported as a NP fungus with a poorly understood evolutionary history and mechanism of adaptation to parasitism. Furthermore, NP fungal genomic basis of lifestyle was still unclear. We sequenced and annotated the Ev genome (34.2 Mbp) and integrated genetic makeup and evolution of pathogenic genes to investigate NP fungi. The results revealed that NP fungi had some abundant pathogenic genes corresponding to their niche. A number of gene families involved in pathogenicity were expanded, and some pathogenic orthologous genes underwent positive…

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Sunday, September 22, 2019

Orphan legumes growing in dry environments: Marama bean as a case study.

Plants have developed morphological, physiological, biochemical, cellular, and molecular mechanisms to survive in drought-stricken environments with little or no water caused by below-average precipitation. In this mini-review, we highlight the characteristics that allows marama bean [Tylosema esculentum (Burchell) Schreiber], an example of an orphan legume native to arid regions of southwestern Southern Africa, to flourish under an inhospitable climate and dry soil conditions where no other agricultural crop competes in this agro-ecological zone. Orphan legumes are often better suited to withstand such harsh growth environments due to development of survival strategies using a combination of different traits and responses. Recent…

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