Table_6_Metagenomic Functional Shifts to Plant Induced Environmental Changes.XLSX

The Vaccinium angustifolium (wild blueberry) agricultural system involves transformation of the environment surrounding the plant to intensify plant propagation and to improve fruit yield, and therefore is an advantageous model to study the interaction between soil microorganisms and plant–host interactions. We studied this system to address the question of a trade-off between microbial adaptation to a plant-influenced environment and its general metabolic capabilities. We found that many basic metabolic functions were similarly represented in bulk soil and rhizosphere microbiomes overall. However, we identified a niche-specific difference in functions potentially beneficial for microbial survival in the rhizosphere but that might also reduce the ability of microbes to withstand stresses in bulk soils. These functions could provide the microbiome with additional capabilities to respond to environmental fluctuations in the rhizosphere triggered by changes in the composition of root exudates. Based on our analysis we hypothesize that the rhizosphere-specific pathways involved in xenobiotics biodegradation could provide the microbiome with functional flexibility to respond to plant stress status.