Image_4_Composition of Rhizosphere Microbial Communities Associated With Healthy and Verticillium Wilt Diseased Cotton Plants.TIF
Rhizosphere microbial communities are known to be related to plant health; using such an association for crop management requires a better understanding of this relationship. We investigated rhizosphere microbiomes associated with Verticillium wilt symptoms in two cotton cultivars. Microbial communities were profiled by amplicon sequencing, with the total bacterial and fungal DNA quantified by quantitative polymerase chain reaction based on the respective 16S and internal transcribed spacer primers. Although the level of V. dahliae inoculum was higher in the rhizosphere of diseased plants than in the healthy plants, such a difference explained only a small proportion of variation in wilt severities. Compared to healthy plants, the diseased plants had much higher total fungal/bacterial biomass ratio, as represented by quantified total fungal or bacterial DNA. The variability in the fungal/bacterial biomass ratio was much smaller than variability in either fungal or bacterial total biomass among samples within diseased or healthy plants. Diseased plants generally had lower bacterial alpha diversity in their rhizosphere, but such differences in the fungal alpha diversity depended on cultivars. There were large differences in both fungal and bacterial communities between diseased and healthy plants. Many rhizosphere microbial groups differed in their abundance between healthy and diseased plants. There was a decrease in arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi and an increase in several plant pathogen and saprophyte guilds in diseased plants. These findings suggested that V. dahliae infection of roots led to considerable changes in rhizosphere microbial communities, with large increases in saprophytic fungi and reduction in bacterial community.