Grady, K. L., J. W. Sorensen, N. Stopnisek, J. Guittar, and A. Shade. 2019. Assembly and seasonality of core phyllosphere microbiota on perennial biofuel crops. Nature Communications 10:4135.
Perennial grasses are promising feedstocks for biofuel production, with potential for leveraging their native microbiomes to increase their productivity and resilience to environmental stress. Here, we characterize the 16S rRNA gene diversity and seasonal assembly of bacterial and archaeal microbiomes of two perennial cellulosic feedstocks, switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) and miscanthus (Miscanthus x giganteus). We sample leaves and soil every three weeks from pre-emergence through senescence for two consecutive switchgrass growing seasons and one miscanthus season, and identify core leaf taxa based on occupancy. Virtually all leaf taxa are also detected in soil; source-sink modeling shows non-random, ecological filtering by the leaf, suggesting that soil is an important reservoir of phyllosphere diversity. Core leaf taxa include early, mid, and late season groups that were consistent across years and crops. This consistency in leaf microbiome dynamics and core members is promising for microbiome manipulation or management to support crop production.
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