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Root endophytic fungi impact host plant biomass and respond to plant composition at varying spatio-temporal scales

Abstract : Plant roots are inhabited by a diversity of microorganisms known to be key drivers of plant growth and health. Although the rules governing root microbiota assembly have been investigated and the importance of abiotic determinants highlighted, the consequences of the biotic context of the plant community have often been overlooked. We tested the hypothesis that the abundance of species in a given plant neighborhood could leave a fingerprint on its root-endophytic fungal community, ultimately impacting its biomass. Outdoor experimental mesocosms, comprising a range of floristic compositions and spatially mapped plant distributions, were monitored for 2y. Medicago truncatula was used as trap-plant and grown under standardized conditions on soil samples collected in the mesocosms. The root-endophytic fungal community of M. truncatula was described by amplicon mass sequencing and M. truncatula performance was also assessed. The richness and evenness of M. truncatula's root-endophytic fungal community were explained by the small-scale plant neighborhood of the soil samples. For instance, the occurrence of Brachypodium pinnatum in the neighborhood induced higher and lower richness of Sordariomycetes and Glomeromycetes, respectively, whereas Holcus mollis decreased the OTU evenness of the entire mycobiota. These changes in fungal Glade OTU richness and evenness were related to modifications in the biomass of M. truncatula. These results indicate that a given plant endophytic fungal community is determined in part by the neighboring plants. Considering that changes in endophytic fungal community are correlated with the plant biomass, this suggests that plant-plant interactions (i.e. competition, facilitation) impacting plant biomass can be mediated by endophytic fungal community changes.
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Submitted on : Thursday, July 21, 2022 - 11:17:15 AM
Last modification on : Friday, September 30, 2022 - 11:12:08 AM
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Nathan Vannier, Anne‐kristel Bittebière, Cendrine Mony, Philippe Vandenkoornhuyse. Root endophytic fungi impact host plant biomass and respond to plant composition at varying spatio-temporal scales. Fungal Ecology, 2020, 44, pp.100907. ⟨10.1016/j.funeco.2019.100907⟩. ⟨hal-02492027⟩



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