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0 Q&A 8459 Views Jun 20, 2018
Besides analyzing the composition and dynamics of microbial communities, plant microbiome research aims to understanding the mechanism of plant microbiota assembly and their biological functions. Here, we describe procedures to investigate the role of bacterial interspecies interactions in root microbiome assembly and the beneficial effects of the root microbiota on hosts by using a maize root-associated simplified seven-species (Stenotrophomonas maltophilia, Ochrobactrum pituitosum, Curtobacterium pusillum, Enterobacter cloacae, Chryseobacterium indologenes, Herbaspirillum frisingense and Pseudomonas putida) synthetic bacterial community described in our previous work. Surface-sterilized maize seeds were grown in a gnotobiotic system based on double-tube growth chambers after being soaked in suspensions containing multiple species of bacteria. The dynamics of the composition of the bacterial communities colonized on maize roots were tracked by a culture-dependent method with a selective medium for each of the seven strains. The impact of bacterial interactions on the community assembly was evaluated by monitoring the changes of community structure. The plant-protection effects of the simplified seven-species community were assessed by quantifying (1) the growth of a fungal phytopathogen, Fusarium verticillioides on the surfaces of the seeds and (2) the severity of seedling blight disease the fungus causes, in the presence and absence of the bacterial community. Our protocol will serve as useful guidance for studying plant-microbial community interactions under the laboratory conditions.

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