Plant and Soil

, Volume 340, Issue 1–2, pp 347–355

Soil microbial community responses to the fungal endophyte Neotyphodium in Italian ryegrass

  • Cecilia Casas
  • Marina Omacini
  • Marcela Susana Montecchia
  • Olga Susana Correa
Regular Article

Abstract

Cool-season grasses commonly harbor fungal endophytes in their aerial tissues. However the effects of these symbionts on soil microbial communities have rarely been investigated. Our objective was to explore microbial community responses in soils conditioned by plants of the annual grass Lolium multiflorum with contrasting levels of infection with the endophyte Neotyphodium occultans. At the end of the host growing season, we estimated the functional capacity of soil microbial communities (via catabolic response profiles), the contribution of fungi and bacteria to soil activity (via selective inhibition with antibiotics), and the structure of both microbial communities by molecular analyses. Soil conditioning by highly infected plants affected soil catabolic profiles and tended to increase soil fungal activity. We detected a shift in bacterial community structure while no changes were observed for fungi. Soil responses became evident even without changes in host plant biomass or soil organic carbon or total nitrogen content, suggesting that the endophyte modified host rhizodepositions during the conditioning phase. Our results have implications for the understanding of the reciprocal interactions between above and belowground communities, suggesting that plant-soil feedbacks can be mediated by this symbiosis.

Keywords

Above and below ground interactions Aerial symbiosis Neotyphodium endophytes Lolium multiflorum Soil fungi and bacteria 

Abbreviations

+E

Lolium multiflorum population highly infected with the endophyte Neotyphodium occultans

−E

Lolium multiflorum population lowly infected with the endophyte Neotyphodium occultans

CP

catabolic response profile

SI

selective inhibition

DGGE

denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis

RFLP

restriction fragment length polymorphism

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Cecilia Casas
    • 1
  • Marina Omacini
    • 1
  • Marcela Susana Montecchia
    • 2
  • Olga Susana Correa
    • 2
  1. 1.IFEVA-CONICET, Cátedra de Ecología, Facultad de AgronomíaUniversidad de Buenos AiresCiudad Autónoma de Buenos AiresArgentina
  2. 2.INBA-CONICET, Cátedra de Microbiología Agrícola, Facultad de AgronomíaUniversidad de Buenos AiresCiudad Autónoma de Buenos AiresArgentina

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