Diversity of endophytes across the soil-plant continuum for Atriplex spp. in arid environments

Abstract

Endophytes are hypothesized to be transferred across the soil-plant continuum, suggesting both the transfers of endophytes from environment to plant and from plant to soil. To verify this hypothesis and to assess the role of locality, we evaluated the similarity of microbial communities commonly found both in soils and endophytic communities in three arid regions, i.e. the Jornada LTER (Long Term Ecological Research) site in New Mexico, USA, and the research station of Jordan University of Science and Technology (JUST) and Khanasri research station in Badia region of Jordan. Rhizosphere and non-rhizosphere soils, leaves and seeds of Atriplex spp. were sampled. Diversity and distribution of bacteria and fungi across the soil-plant continuums were assessed by tag-encoded FLX amplicon pyrosequencing and sequence alignment. Of the total bacterial OTUs (operational taxonomic units), 0.17% in Khanasri research station, 0.16% in research station of JUST, and 0.42% in Jornada LTER site were commonly found across all the plant and soil compartments. The same was true for fungi in two regions, i.e. 1.56% in research station of JUST and 0.86% in Jornada LTER site. However, in Khanasri research station, 12.08% of total fungi OTUs were found in at least one soil compartment and one plant compartment. Putative Arthrobacter, Sporosarcina, Cladosporium and members of Proteobacteria and Actinobacteria were found across all the soil-plant continuums. Ascomycota, mainly including Didymellaceae, Pleosporaceae and Davidiellaceae were present across all the soil-plant continuums. Microbial communities in two regions of Jordan were similar to each other, but both of them were different from the Jornada LTER site of USA. SIMPER (similarity percentage) analysis of bacterial and fungal taxa for both soil and endophyte communities revealed that dissimilarities of two bacterial genera (Arthrobacter and Sporosarcina) and two fungal genera (Cladosporium and Alternaria) are very high, so they play key roles in the soil-plant continuums. A weighed Pearson correlation analysis for the specific bacterial OTUs in the soil-plant continuums only showed high similarity between the two regions of Jordan. However, fungal groups showed higher similarities among all regions. This research supports the hypothesis of continuity of certain bacterial and fungal communities across the soil-plant continuums, and also explores the influences of plant species and geographic specificity on diversity and distribution of bacteria and fungi.

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Correspondence to Adrian Unc.

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Tahtamouni, M.E., Khresat, S., Lucero, M. et al. Diversity of endophytes across the soil-plant continuum for Atriplex spp. in arid environments. J. Arid Land 8, 241–253 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s40333-015-0061-9

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Keywords

  • endophytes
  • microbial diversities
  • soil-plant continuum
  • pyrosequencing
  • Atriplex spp.