Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 10/2/2017
Publication Date: N/A
Technical Abstract: A rigorous understanding of the microbiomes associated with plants holds tremendous potential for suggesting new management targets that will more effectively manage pathogens and improve plant performance. Characterizing ecological interactions among microbial species within the phytobiome is essential to understanding the selective forces that generate and maintain strong pathogen-antagonistic phenotypes among microorganisms. Research linking the diversity of plant cover to inhibitory phenotypes among soil bacteria has suggested a connection between available resource diversity and antibiotic-mediated inhibitory phenotypes among Streptomyces. However, not all communities follow identical trajectories, and there is a ‘geographic mosaic’ of soil microbial communities that differ in ability to inhibit pathogens. The advent of massively parallel DNA sequencing technologies has alleviated a severe limitation on understanding plant-associated microbiomes, by removing the need to grow organisms in pure culture in order to observe their presence in an environment. Using the wheat-Fusarium head blight disease system, I illustrate the power of culture-independent microbiome profiling to reveal associations between plant disease development and non-pathogenic members of the microbiome. However, it is important to remain cognizant of the limitations of amplicon sequencing. Inclusion of mock community controls can make visible biases in the method, enabling improvements to be made.