Location, Root Proximity, and Glyphosate-Use History Modulate the Effects of Glyphosate on Fungal Community Networks of Wheat


Glyphosate is the most-used herbicide worldwide and an essential tool for weed control in no-till cropping systems. However, concerns have been raised regarding the long-term effects of glyphosate on soil microbial communities. We examined the impact of repeated glyphosate application on bulk and rhizosphere soil fungal communities of wheat grown in four soils representative of the dryland wheat production region of Eastern Washington, USA. Further, using soils from paired fields, we contrasted the response of fungal communities that had a long history of glyphosate exposure and those that had no known exposure. Soil fungal communities were characterized after three cycles of wheat growth in the greenhouse followed by termination with glyphosate or manual clipping of plants. We found that cropping system, location, year, and root proximity were the primary drivers of fungal community compositions, and that glyphosate had only small impacts on fungal community composition or diversity. However, the taxa that responded to glyphosate applications differed between rhizosphere and bulk soil and between cropping systems. Further, a greater number of fungal OTUs responded to glyphosate in soils with a long history of glyphosate use. Finally, fungal co-occurrence patterns, but not co-occurrence network characteristics, differed substantially between glyphosate-treated and non-treated communities. Results suggest that most fungi influenced by glyphosate are saprophytes that likely feed on dying roots.

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Correspondence to Timothy Paulitz.

Electronic supplementary material

Supplemental Figure 1

Networks of both positive (blue edges) and negative (red edges) (GIF 198 kb)

High resolution image (TIFF 355 kb)

Supplemental Figure 2

Networks of both positive (blue edges) and negative (red edges) associations in rhizosphere soil. Nodes (OTUs) are colored by the phyla to which they were classified. (GIF 207 kb)

High resolution image (TIFF 444 kb)

Supplemental Figure 3

Networks of positive co-associations in bulk soil as described in Figure 8, with nodes labeled with OTU identifiers. (GIF 258 kb)

High resolution image (TIFF 327 kb)

Supplemental Figure 4

Networks of negative co-associations in bulk soil with nodes labeled with OTU identifiers. Edges specific to each network are colored red where those shared between networks in the same cropping system are colored gray. Nodes are colored by the module to which they belong in the corresponding NG network. (GIF 219 kb)

High resolution image (TIFF 461 kb)

Supplemental Figure 5

Networks of positive co-associations in rhizosphere soil as described in Figure 9, with nodes labeled with OTU identifiers. (GIF 296 kb)

High resolution image (TIFF 1.00 MB)

Supplemental Figure 6

Networks of negative co-associations in rhizosphere soil with nodes labeled with OTU identifiers. Edges in specific to each network are colored red where those shared between networks in the same cropping system are colored gray. Nodes are colored by the module to which they belong in the corresponding NG network. (GIF 290 kb)

High resolution image (TIFF 854 kb)

Supplemental Table 1

Soil analyses of locations. (XLSX 1.50 MB)

Supplemental Table 2

Forward and reverse primer designs for ITS illumina sequencing. (DOCX 13 kb)

Supplemental Table 3

ANOVA F-statistics and p-values for fungal richness and diversity indices among treatments in 2015 and 2016. (DOCX 14 kb)

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Schlatter, D.C., Yin, C., Burke, I. et al. Location, Root Proximity, and Glyphosate-Use History Modulate the Effects of Glyphosate on Fungal Community Networks of Wheat. Microb Ecol 76, 240–257 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00248-017-1113-9

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  • Glyphosate
  • Fungi
  • Networks
  • Wheat
  • Triticum aestivum
  • Microbiome