Variable influences of soil and bacterial on the assembly of seedling microbiomes

Variable influences of soil and bacterial on the assembly of seedling microbiomes The ISME Journal volume 15, pages2748–2762 (2021)

Variable influences of soil and seed-associated bacterial communities on the assembly of seedling microbiomes

Authors: Corinne M. Walsh, Isadore Becker-Uncapher, Madeline Carlson & Noah Fierer


Plants grown in distinct soils typically harbor distinct microbial communities, but the degree of the soil microbiome influence on plant microbiome assembly remains largely undetermined. We also know that the microbes associated with seeds can contribute to the plant microbiome, but the magnitude of this contribution is likely variable. We quantified the influence of soil and seed microbiomes on the bacterial community composition of seedlings by independently inoculating seeds from a single cultivar of wheat (Triticum aestivum) with 219 unique soil slurries while holding other environmental factors constant, determining the composition of the seed, soil, and seedling bacterial communities via cultivation-independent methods. Soil bacterial communities exert a strong, but variable, influence on seedling bacterial community structure, with the extent of the soil bacterial contribution dependent on the soil in question. By testing a wide range of soils, we were able to show that the specific composition of the seedling microbiome is predictable from knowing which bacterial taxa are found in soil. Although the most ubiquitous taxa associated with the seedlings were seed derived, the contributions of the seed microbiome to the seedling microbiome were variable and dependent on soil bacterial community composition. Together this work improves our predictive understanding of how the plant microbiome assembles and how the seedling microbiome could be directly or indirectly manipulated to improve plant health.
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