Publications

Plant Selenium Hyperaccumulation Affects Rhizosphere: Enhanced Species Richness and Altered Species Composition

Cochran, Alyssa T.; Bauer, Jemma; Metcalf, Jessica L.; Lovecka, Petra; Jong, Martina S. de; Warris, S.; Mooijman, P.J.W.; Meer, I.M. van der; Knight, Rob; Pilon-Smits, E.A.H.

Summary

Little is known about the microbiomes associated with plants with unusual properties, including plants that hyperaccumulate toxic elements such as selenium (Se). Se hyperaccumulators contain up to 1.5% of their dry weight in Se, concentrations shown to affect ecological interactions with herbivores, fungal pathogens and neighboring plants. Hyperaccumulators also enrich their surrounding soil with Se, which may alter the rhizobiome. To investigate whether plant Se affects rhizobacterial diversity and composition, we used a combination of culture-independent and culture-based approaches. Sequencing of 16S rRNA gene amplicons using the Illumina platform revealed that the rhizosphere microbiomes of Se hyperaccumulators were significantly different from nonaccumulators from the same site, with a higher average relative abundance of Pedobacter and Deviosa. Additionally, hyperaccumulators harbored a higher rhizobacterial species richness when compared with nonaccumulators from the same family on the same site. Independent from Se present at the site or in the host plant, the bacterial isolates were extremely resistant to selenate and selenite (up to 200 mM) and could reduce selenite to elemental Se. In conclusion, Se hyperaccumulation does not appear to negatively affect rhizobacterial diversity, and may select for certain taxa in the rhizosphere microbiome. Additionally, Se resistance in hyperaccumulator-associated bacteria and archaea may be widespread and not under selection by the host plant.