Diversity and community structure of soil microorganisms are increasingly recognized as important contributors to sustainable agriculture and plant health. In viticulture, grapevine scion cultivars are grafted onto rootstocks to reduce the incidence of the grapevine pest phylloxera. However, it is unknown to what extent this practice influences root-associated microbial communities. A field survey of bacteria in soil surrounding the roots (rhizosphere) of 4 cultivars × 4 rootstock combinations was conducted to determine whether rootstock and cultivar genotypes are important drivers of rhizosphere community diversity and composition. Differences in α-diversity was highly dependent on rootstock–cultivar combinations, while bacterial community structure primarily clustered according to cultivar differences, followed by differences in rootstocks. Twenty-four bacterial indicator genera were significantly more abundant in one or more cultivars, while only thirteen were found to be specifically associated with one or more rootstock genotypes, but there was little overlap between cultivar and rootstock indicator genera. Bacterial diversity in grafted grapevines was affected by both cultivar and rootstock identity, but this effect was dependent on which diversity measure was being examined (i.e., α- or β-diversity) and specific rootstock–cultivar combinations. These findings could have functional implications, for instance, if specific combinations varied in their ability to attract beneficial microbial taxa which can control pathogens and/or assist plant performance.
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