Mycorrhizae Enhance Soybean Plant Growth and Aluminum Stress Tolerance by Shaping the Microbiome Assembly in an Acidic Soil

Microbiol Spectr. 2023 Mar 14:e0331022. doi: 10.1128/spectrum.03310-22. Online ahead of print.


Strongly acidic soils are characterized by high aluminum (Al) toxicity and low phosphorus (P) availability, which suppress legume plant growth and nodule development. Arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) stimulate rhizobia and enhance plant P uptake. However, it is unclear how this symbiotic soybean-AMF-rhizobial trio promotes soybean growth in acidic soils. We examined the effects of AMF and rhizobium addition on the growth of two soybean genotypes, namely, Al-tolerant and Al-sensitive soybeans as well as their associated bacterial and fungal communities in an acidic soil. With and without rhizobial addition, AMF significantly increased the fresh shoot and root biomass of Al-tolerant soybean by 47%/87% and 37%/24%, respectively. This increase in plant biomass corresponded to the enrichment of four plant growth-promoting rhizobacteria (PGPR) in the rhizospheric soil, namely, Chitinophagaceae bacterium 4GSH07, Paraburkholderia soli, Sinomonas atrocyanea, and Aquincola tertiaricarbonis. For Al-sensitive soybean, AMF addition increased the fresh shoot and root biomass by 112%/64% and 30%/217%, respectively, with/without rhizobial addition. Interestingly, this significant increase coincided with a decrease in the pathogenic fungus Nigrospora oryzae as well as an increase in S. atrocyanea, A. tertiaricarbonis, and Talaromyces verruculosus (a P-solubilizing fungus) in the rhizospheric soil. Lastly, the compartment niche along the soil-plant continuum shaped microbiome assembly, with pathogenic/saprotrophic microbes accumulating in the rhizospheric soil and PGPR related to nitrogen fixation or stress resistance (e.g., Rhizobium leguminosarum and Sphingomonas azotifigens) accumulating in the endospheric layer. IMPORTANCE Taken together, this study examined the effects of arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi (AMF) and rhizobial combinations on the growth of Al-tolerant and Al-sensitive soybeans as well as their associated microbial communities in acidic soils and concluded that AMF enhances soybean growth and Al stress tolerance by recruiting PGPR and altering the root-associated microbiome assembly in a host-dependent manner. In the future, these findings will help us better understand the impacts of AMF on rhizosphere microbiome assembly and will contribute to the development of soybean breeding techniques for the comprehensive use of PGPR in sustainable agriculture.

PMID:36916950 | DOI:10.1128/spectrum.03310-22


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