Arbuscular mycorrhizal (AM) fungi have been shown to induce the biocontrol of soilborne diseases, to change the composition of root exudates and to modify the bacterial community structure of the rhizosphere, leading to the formation of the mycorrhizosphere. Tomato plants were grown in a compartmentalized soil system and were either submitted to direct mycorrhizal colonization or to enrichment of the soil with exudates collected from mycorrhizal tomato plants, with the corresponding negative controls. Three weeks after planting, the plants were inoculated or not with the soilborne pathogen Phytophthora nicotianae growing through a membrane from an adjacent infected compartment. At harvest, a PCR-Denaturing gradient gel electrophoresis analysis of 16S rRNA gene fragments amplified from the total DNA extracted from each plant rhizosphere was performed. Root colonization with the AM fungi Glomus intraradices or Glomus mosseae induced significant changes in the bacterial community structure of tomato rhizosphere, compared to non-mycorrhizal plants, while enrichment with root exudates collected from mycorrhizal or non-mycorrhizal plants had no effect. Our results support that the effect of AM fungi on rhizosphere bacteria would not be mediated by compounds present in root exudates of mycorrhizal plants but rather by physical or chemical factors associated with the mycelium, volatiles and/or root surface bound substrates. Moreover, infection of mycorrhizal or non-mycorrhizal plants with P. nicotianae did not significantly affect the bacterial community structure suggesting that rhizosphere bacteria would be less sensitive to the pathogen invasion than to mycorrhizal colonization. Of 96 unique sequences detected in the tomato rhizosphere, eight were specific to mycorrhizal fungi, including two Pseudomonas, a Bacillus simplex, an Herbaspirilium and an Acidobacterium. One Verrucomicrobium was common to rhizospheres of mycorrhizal plants and of plants watered with mycorrhizal root exudates.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Soil Science