Rootstocks Shape the Rhizobiome: Rhizosphere and Endosphere Bacterial Communities in the Grafted Tomato System.


Plant Pathology Department, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA [Email] [Email]


Root-associated microbes are critical to plant health and performance, although understanding of the factors that structure these microbial communities and the theory to predict microbial assemblages are still limited. Here, we use a grafted tomato system to study the effects of rootstock genotypes and grafting in endosphere and rhizosphere microbiomes that were evaluated by sequencing 16S rRNA. We compared the microbiomes of nongrafted tomato cultivar BHN589, self-grafted BHN589, and BHN589 grafted to Maxifort or RST-04-106 hybrid rootstocks. Operational taxonomic unit (OTU)-based bacterial diversity was greater in Maxifort compared to the nongrafted control, whereas bacterial diversity in the controls (self-grafted and nongrafted) and the other rootstock (RST-04-106) was similar. Grafting itself did not affect bacterial diversity; diversity in the self-graft was similar to that of the nongraft. Bacterial diversity was higher in the rhizosphere than in the endosphere for all treatments. However, despite the lower overall diversity, there was a greater number of differentially abundant OTUs (DAOTUs) in the endosphere, with the greatest number of DAOTUs associated with Maxifort. In a permutational multivariate analysis of variance (PERMANOVA), there was evidence for an effect of rootstock genotype on bacterial communities. The endosphere-rhizosphere compartment and study site explained a high percentage of the differences among bacterial communities. Further analyses identified OTUs responsive to rootstock genotypes in both the endosphere and rhizosphere. Our findings highlight the effects of rootstocks on bacterial diversity and composition. The influence of rootstock and plant compartment on microbial communities indicates opportunities for the development of designer communities and microbiome-based breeding to improve future crop production.IMPORTANCE Understanding factors that control microbial communities is essential for designing and supporting microbiome-based agriculture. In this study, we used a grafted tomato system to study the effect of rootstock genotypes and grafting on bacterial communities colonizing the endosphere and rhizosphere. To compare the bacterial communities in control treatments (nongrafted and self-grafted plants) with the hybrid rootstocks used by farmers, we evaluated the effect of rootstocks on overall bacterial diversity and composition. These findings indicate the potential for using plant genotype to indirectly select bacterial taxa. In addition, we identify taxa responsive to each rootstock treatment, which may represent candidate taxa useful for biocontrol and in biofertilizers.


BHN589,Maxifort,Solanum lycopersicum,endosphere,grafting,hybrid,microbiome,rhizosphere,rootstocks,