Soil texture is a stronger driver of the maize rhizosphere microbiome and extracellular enzyme activities than soil depth or the presence of root hairs

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Aims: Different drivers are known to shape rhizosphere microbiome assembly. How soil texture (Texture) and presence or lack of root hairs (Root Hair) of plants affect the rhizosphere microbiome assembly and soil potential extracellular enzyme activities (EEA) at defined rooting depth (Depth) is still a knowledge gap. We investigated effects of these drivers on microbial assembly in rhizosphere and on potential EEA in root-affected soil of maize. Methods: Samples were taken from three depths of root hair defective mutant rth3 and wild-type WT maize planted on loam and sand in soil columns after 22 days. Rhizosphere bacterial, archaeal, fungal and cercozoan communities were analysed by sequencing of 16S rRNA gene, ITS and 18S rRNA gene fragments. Soil potential EEA of ß-glucosidase, acid phosphatase and chitinase were estimated using fluorogenic substrates. Results: The bacterial, archaeal and cercozoan alpha- and beta-diversities were significantly and strongly altered by Texture, followed by Depth and Root Hair. Texture and Depth had a small impact on fungal assembly, and only fungal beta-diversity was significantly affected. Significant impacts by Depth and Root Hair on beta-diversity and relative abundances at taxonomic levels of bacteria, archaea, fungi and cercozoa were dependent on Texture. Likewise, the patterns of potential EEA followed the trends of microbial communities, and the potential EEA correlated with the relative abundances of several taxa. Conclusions: Texture was the strongest driver of rhizosphere microbiome and of soil potential EEA, followed by Depth and Root Hair, similarly to findings in maize root architecture and plant gene expression studies.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPlant and Soil
Issue number1-2
Pages (from-to)229-251
Number of pages23
Publication statusPublished - 2022

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© 2022, The Author(s).

    Research areas

  • Microbial extracellular enzyme, Rhizosphere microbiome, Root hair, Texture and Zea mays

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