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Impact of Harvest on Switchgrass Leaf Microbial Communities

Joint Genome Institute, Berkeley, CA 94720, USA
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Berkeley, CA 94710, USA
Department of Integrative Biology, University of Texas Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Pieter van Dillewijn, Jaco Vangronsveld and Sofie Thijs
Genes 2022, 13(1), 22;
Received: 21 October 2021 / Revised: 15 December 2021 / Accepted: 17 December 2021 / Published: 22 December 2021
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Plant Microbiome: Structure and Function)
Switchgrass is a promising feedstock for biofuel production, with potential for leveraging its native microbial community to increase productivity and resilience to environmental stress. Here, we characterized the bacterial, archaeal and fungal diversity of the leaf microbial community associated with four switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) genotypes, subjected to two harvest treatments (annual harvest and unharvested control), and two fertilization levels (fertilized and unfertilized control), based on 16S rRNA gene and internal transcribed spacer (ITS) region amplicon sequencing. Leaf surface and leaf endosphere bacterial communities were significantly different with Alphaproteobacteria enriched in the leaf surface and Gammaproteobacteria and Bacilli enriched in the leaf endosphere. Harvest treatment significantly shifted presence/absence and abundances of bacterial and fungal leaf surface community members: Gammaproteobacteria were significantly enriched in harvested and Alphaproteobacteria were significantly enriched in unharvested leaf surface communities. These shifts were most prominent in the upland genotype DAC where the leaf surface showed the highest enrichment of Gammaproteobacteria, including taxa with 100% identity to those previously shown to have phytopathogenic function. Fertilization did not have any significant impact on bacterial or fungal communities. We also identified bacterial and fungal taxa present in both the leaf surface and leaf endosphere across all genotypes and treatments. These core taxa were dominated by Methylobacterium, Enterobacteriaceae, and Curtobacterium, in addition to Aureobasidium, Cladosporium, Alternaria and Dothideales. Local core leaf bacterial and fungal taxa represent promising targets for plant microbe engineering and manipulation across various genotypes and harvest treatments. Our study showcases, for the first time, the significant impact that harvest treatment can have on bacterial and fungal taxa inhabiting switchgrass leaves and the need to include this factor in future plant microbial community studies. View Full-Text
Keywords: switchgrass; plant microbial community composition; harvest; leaf metabarcoding data; fungi; phyllosphere; leaves; plant genotypes switchgrass; plant microbial community composition; harvest; leaf metabarcoding data; fungi; phyllosphere; leaves; plant genotypes
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MDPI and ACS Style

Singer, E.; Carpenter, E.M.; Bonnette, J.; Woyke, T.; Juenger, T.E. Impact of Harvest on Switchgrass Leaf Microbial Communities. Genes 2022, 13, 22.

AMA Style

Singer E, Carpenter EM, Bonnette J, Woyke T, Juenger TE. Impact of Harvest on Switchgrass Leaf Microbial Communities. Genes. 2022; 13(1):22.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Singer, Esther, Elizabeth M. Carpenter, Jason Bonnette, Tanja Woyke, and Thomas E. Juenger. 2022. "Impact of Harvest on Switchgrass Leaf Microbial Communities" Genes 13, no. 1: 22.

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