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Rhizosphere microbiomes of resurrection plants Ramonda serbica and R. nathaliae: comparative analysis and search for bacteria mitigating drought stress in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.)

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Rhizosphere microbial communities play an important role in maintaining the health and productivity of the plant host. The rhizobacteria Pseudomonas putida P2 of Ramonda serbica and Bacillus cereus P5 of R. nathaliae were selected for treatment of the Belija wheat cultivar because of their plant growth-promoting (PGP) properties. Compared to the non-treated drought-stressed plants, the plants treated with rhizobacteria showed increased activity of the two major antioxidant enzymes, superoxide dismutase, and ascorbate peroxidase. Plants treated with the B. cereus P5 strain exhibited higher proline content under drought stress, suggesting that proline accumulation depends on the relative water content (RWC) status of the plants studied. Inoculation of wheat seeds with the P. putida P2 strain improved water status by increasing RWC and alleviating oxidative stress by reducing H2O2 and malondialdehyde concentrations in plants exposed to severe drought, possibly also helping plants to overcome drought through its 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid deaminase activity. Analysis of data from Next Generation sequencing (NGS) revealed that the dominant bacterial taxa in the rhizosphere of resurrection plants R. serbica and R. nathaliae were extremophilic, thermotolerant, Vicinamibacter silvestris, Chthoniobacter flavus, and Gaiella occulta. From the fungi detected Penicillium was the most abundant in both samples, while Fusarium and Mucor were present only in the rhizosphere of R. serbica and the entomopathogenic fungi Metarhizium, and Tolypocladiumu only in the rhizosphere of R. nathaliae. The fungal communities varied among plants, suggesting a stronger environmental influence than plant species. Our study demonstrates the importance of in vivo experiments to confirm the properties of PGP bacteria and indicates that the rhizosphere of resurrection plants is a valuable source of unique microorganisms that can be used to improve the drought stress tolerance of crops.

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All data generated or analyzed during this study are included in this published article [and its supplementary information files].


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We would like to thank Dr. Ivan Nikolić for his help in processing the obtained sequences and submitting them to the NCBI database.


This work was supported by the Ministry of Science, Technological Development and Innovation of the Republic of Serbia, grant number 451-03-47/2023-01/ 200178.

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J.L. conceived, wrote, revised, and edited the original draft, N.R. performed experiments and wrote the first draft, G.K. bioinformatic analysis, Ž.J. plant DNA extraction, and sequencing samples preparation, T.R. conducted field experiments for plants sampling, S.S. resources, sequencing results analysis and conceptualization, S.R. conceived and designed the research. All authors read and approve the final manuscript.

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Correspondence to Jelena Lozo.

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Lozo, J., Ristović, N., Kungulovski, G. et al. Rhizosphere microbiomes of resurrection plants Ramonda serbica and R. nathaliae: comparative analysis and search for bacteria mitigating drought stress in wheat (Triticum aestivum L.). World J Microbiol Biotechnol 39, 256 (2023).

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