The microbial communities of the host plant, known as the plant microbiome (or microbiota), colonize all parts of the plant. The root microbiome plays a key role in influencing host plant growth and abiotic stress. However, few studies have been conducted to seek the differences in root microbiome among rice ecotypes in natural upland and lowland fields.
In a study published in Microbiological Research, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) analyzed root microbiome community composition in upland and irrigated ecotype rice, grown in upland field and lowland conditions.
The researchers used two rice ecotypes, upland and irrigated ecotype rice (two Indica and two Japonica genotypes), as a model to explore the responses of the root microbiome under different environmental conditions. They aimed to identify environment-induced adaptation in the root bacterial and fungal composition of rice ecotypes by high-throughput sequencing.
They found that the root microbiome community in two rice ecotypes changed in lowland field and upland, resulting in higher species diversity in the lowland field.
They also showed that rice ecotype and genotype had a significant effect on the root bacterial and fungal community composition.
In addition, where upland does not involve irrigation, drought can occur and be relieved at any stage of the plant life cycle. “So, we must further consider whether short-term drought stress is equivalent to the upland aerobic environment,” said Prof. XU Peng, principal investigator of the study.
“Our study shows that there are different selection strategies for the root microbiome in the process of domestication of upland and irrigated rice ecotypes. It seems possible that the upland rice ecotype has been adapted to the long-term upland (or aerobic) environment in the domestication process,” said XU Peng.
XU Peng Principal Investigator
Key Laboratory of Tropical Plant Resources and Sustainable Use, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Menglun 666303, Yunnan, China