Gdanetz MacCready, K., Z. A. Noel, and F. Trail. 2021. Influence of plant host and organ, management strategy, and spore traits on microbiome composition. Phytobiomes 5:2471-2906.

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Microbiomes from maize and soybean were characterized in a long-term three-crop rotation research site, under four different land management strategies, to begin unraveling the effects of common farming practices on microbial communities. The fungal and bacterial communities of leaves, stems, and roots in host species were characterized across the growing season using amplicon sequencing and compared with the results of a similar study on wheat. Communities differed across hosts and among plant growth stages and organs, and these effects were most pronounced in the bacterial communities of the wheat and maize phyllosphere. Roots consistently showed the highest number of bacterial operational taxonomic units compared with aboveground organs, whereas the α-diversity of fungi was similar between above- and belowground organs. Network analyses identified putatively influential members of the microbial communities of the three host plant species. The fungal taxa specific to roots, stems, or leaves were examined to determine whether the specificity reflected their life histories based on previous studies. The analysis suggests that fungal spore traits are drivers of organ specificity in the fungal community. Identification of influential taxa in the microbial community and understanding how community structure of specific crop organs is formed will provide a critical resource for manipulations of microbial communities. The ability to predict how organ-specific communities are influenced by spore traits will enhance our ability to introduce them sustainably.

DOI: 10.1094/PBIOMES-08-19-0045-R

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