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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Mycology and Nematology Genetic Diversity and Biology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #329559

Title: Differences among soil-inhabiting microbial communities in Poa annua turf throughout the growing season

item BEIRN, LISA - Syngenta Crop Production
item HEMPFLING, JAMES - Rutgers University
item SCHMID, CHARLES - Rutgers University
item MURPHY, JAMES - Rutgers University
item CLARKE, BRUCE - Rutgers University
item Crouch, Jo Anne

Submitted to: Crop Science
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 9/12/2016
Publication Date: 11/28/2016
Citation: Beirn, L.A., Hempfling, J.W., Schmid, C.J., Murphy, J.A., Clarke, B.B., Crouch, J. 2016. Differences among soil-inhabiting microbial communities in Poa annua turf throughout the growing season. Crop Science. 57(1):1-12. doi: 10.2135/cropsci2016.06.0463.

Interpretive Summary: Small microorganisms like fungi, bacteria and archaea are commonly found in soil and can play important roles in the health of plants. In this work, we investigated which microbes live in the soil surrounding the roots of golf course turfgrasses over the course of a year using DNA profiling. More than 150,000 unique soil microbes were identified from less than half an ounce of soil from a single golf course green. We found that different microbes were present at different times in the growing season and that the most abundant and commonly encountered microbes are known to improve plant health. Many of these beneficial microbes convert nitrogen found in the environment so that it is available for plant use. These findings show that even highly managed environments like golf courses are inhabited by large numbers of potentially beneficial microbes. This information will be useful to plant pathologists, agronomists and other professionals seeking to use the resident microbes as the basis for new and environmentally friendly approaches to improve plant health.

Technical Abstract: There is increasing interest in understanding plant-associated microbial communities and their impact on plant health. However, research has been limited to major agronomic systems and little is known about the resident microorganisms in economically important specialty crops, such as turfgrass. In this study, we generated a community-wide inventory of the archaea and bacteria that inhabit the soil of Poa annua L. putting green turf at five time points over a one-year period. Next-generation sequencing of the nuclear ribosomal DNA 16S revealed 1.5 X 105 unique operational taxonomic units from 25 pooled soil samples. Seventeen archaeal taxa were identified at the species level, 53% of which were members of the Crenarchaeota. Proteobacteria was the most abundant bacterial phylum, comprising 36% of the 442 taxa present. Distance analysis and analysis of similarities revealed that the archaeal/bacterial communities clustered according to sample date, with samples collected during warm months grouping separately from those collected during cool months. Clustering was less distinct when plotted using detrended correspondence analysis. These data indicate that microbial community structure varied throughout the growing season, possibly due to seasonal changes in temperature and/or other environmental factors. This research also shows that P. annua putting green turf supports a diverse microbial community despite management practices that include frequent pesticide applications.