2023 journal article
Water deficits shape the microbiome of Bermudagrass roots to be Actinobacteria rich
FEMS Microbiology Ecology.
Abstract There is increasing evidence that microbes can help ameliorate plant growth under environmental stress. Still, it is largely unknown what microbes and potential functions are involved in sustaining turfgrass, the major component of urban/suburban landscapes, under drought. We examined microbial responses to water deficits in bulk soil, rhizosphere, and root endosphere of bermudagrass by applying evapotranspiration (ET)-based dynamic irrigation twice per week during the growing season to create six treatments (0%, 40%, 60%, 80%, 100%, and 120% ET) and respective drought-stressed soil conditions. Bacterial and fungal communities were analyzed via marker gene amplicon sequencing and thereafter drought-reshaped potential functions of the bacterial community were projected. Slight yet significant microbial responses to irrigation treatments were observed in all three microhabitats. The root endophytic bacterial community was most responsive to water stress. No-irrigation primarily increased the relative abundance of root endophytic Actinobacteria, especially the genus Streptomyces. Irrigation at ≤40% ET increased the relative abundances of PICRUSt2-predicted functional genes encoding 1-aminocyclopropane-1-carboxylic acid deaminase, superoxide dismutase, and chitinase in root endosphere. Our data suggest that the root endophytic Actinobacteria are likely the key players to improve bermudagrass fitness under drought by modulating phytohormone ethylene production, scavenging reactive oxygen species, or ameliorating nutrient acquisition.